Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a daily briefing that he would not comment on the emergency landing of the Ryanair aircraft with Nexta former chief editor Roman Protasevich on board.
"There are certain international rules and international authorities should make assessments," said Peskov.
Nevertheless, most of the questions at today's briefing were about the Minsk incident. In particular, Peskov was asked whether the Kremlin was informed about the detention of a Russian woman named Sophia Sapega.
“No, the Kremlin has no information. Again, according to international standards, the Belarusian side will us inform about the detention of Russian citizens and provide information on this matter,” Peskov said.
He declined to comment the fact that four Russian citizens did not board the flight that departed from Minsk to Vilnius, nor did he say anything whether the Belarusian authorities had consulted their Russian counterparts before the plane was detained. At the same time, Peskov noted that within the framework of the Union State, the aviation authorities of the two countries were constantly maintaining close cooperation.
Answering the question about whether possible EU sanctions against Belarus will affect the relations between Russia and Europe, Peskov said:
“Some demand sanctions, but some others say that all was in accordance with international rules and norms. There are many contradictory statements and we would not want to put the horse before the cart to condemn someone. "
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said she was "shocked" by the reaction that came from the West in response to the Ryanair flight.
"Either everything should be shocking - from the forced landing of the plane of the President of Bolivia in Austria at the request of the United States, and the landing of Belarusian aircraft with the Anti-Maidan activist on board eleven minutes after takeoff in Ukraine, or nothing should be shocking about someone else's similar actions," Zakharova wrote on Facebook. She noted that "all those cases of violent abductions, forced landings and illegal arrests, carried out by "guardians of order and morality were still fresh in memory".
Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said that one could sympathise with the passengers of the flight, who had to deal with certain inconveniences, however, "aviation security rules are an absolute priority for everyone and everywhere."
"In this regard, the actions of the aircraft crew responsible for the lives of the passengers seem completely justified. It is from this point of view that one should approach this incident - from the point of view of security that was fully ensured by joint efforts," Anatoly Glaz wrote on the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.
Russian MP Vyacheslav Lysakov called the arrest of Roman Protasevich "a brilliant operation" conducted by special services of Belarus.
“Without a doubt, the KGB of Belarus carried out a special operation that was brilliant from the operational point of view. They tracked down the “object”, they escorted him, and staged a possible terrorist attack, actually forced the plane to land, and, finally, “took” him into good hands. The icing on the cake could be a strict sentence and subsequent pardon," Lysakov wrote in his Telegram channel. According to him, everything that has happened is "a serious move against the well-fed and unafraid authors of the websites that often incite people to direct clashes with security forces for the sake of their own political and financial interests."
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated