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Armen Martirosyan on SBU actions: Nothing was charged with me, absolutely

There was no luck with the Belarusian plane leaving the Kiev airport Zhulyany on October 21. Several minutes after the takeoff, the airliner was ordered to make a U-turn and forced to land back in Kiyv under the threat of using fighter jets.

As it turned out later, Ukrainian secret forces were mistaken: the search of one of the passangers failed to find anything suspicious about him and the man was released without charge.

Now the incident is treated as a diplomatic issue. The Foreign Ministry of Belarus demands an official apology of Kiev, Belavia airline seeks financial compensation and

Armen Martirosyan, a journalist and blogger, is going to file a case.

It's 3.25 p.m. Belavia plane takes off from the Kiev Zhulyany airport according to the schedule. There are more than 140 people on its board, only 6 of them are the members of its aircrew. Just within a few tens of kilometers from Belarusian border,

a Ukranian traffic controller, as it comes from the words of a Belarusian pilot, demands to turn the plane around and fly back to Zhulyany.

To ensure the return of the aircraft, Ukraine threatens it to use military jets for interception. So as not to expose the lives of passangers to the danger, the aircraft commander makes a decision to U-turn the aircraft. Nevertheless, SBU, the Security Service of Ukraine, refuses to explain the reasons for such a controversial decision. Only after the security check of the Boeing, they would say they had been preventing a threat to the national security!

Elena Gitlyanskaya, press-secretary of the Security Service of Ukraine:
The information we had at out disposal was enough for such actions of the national security service. But the plane had taken off before the command reached it, so the aircraft was returned.

The reason for such an alarm of the national security threat was Armen Martirosyan, a citizen of Armenia, living in Russia,

a journalist, a blogger and the head of a public organization.

Armen Martirosyan, journalist, blogger:
This is how it was: the plane landed back, they told me on a public address system to leave the plane with my luggage. I was met by people who showed their identity cards and presented themselves as SBU agents. When I asked them on what grounds I was returned to the territory of Ukraine, they answered that somebody should bring some papers to show me these grounds. As a result, no one showed me anything. I changed my ticket and went on the next flight.

After Armen Martirosyan was removed from the aircraft, the plane was refueled and was allowed to depart again for Minsk as if nothing had happened.

Igor Cherginets, Deputy Director General at Belavia airline:
I don't think that it will have any impact on flights between the two countries, either Belavia or any Ukranian ones.

The ill-fated flight landed in Minsk two hours late. The Belarusian side showed at once that the situation won't lack its attention.

The Foreign Ministry of Belarus handed over a protest note to the Charge d'Affaires of Ukraine in Belarus.

Such actions of the Ukrainian side not only undermine good diplomatic relationships between the two countries, but also violate the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation where one can find the following lines:

The Convention on International Civil Aviation, signed on December 7, 1944 in Chicago (Article 3bis):
The contracting States recognize that every State must refrain from resorting to the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight and that, in case of interception, the lives of persons on board and the safety of aircraft must not be endangered.

The Foreign Ministry of Belarus reacted to the outrageous actions of SBU with a demand of an official apology; Belavia, with a demand of financial compensation of all the expenses.

Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise didn't comment the situation, though it was was their traffic controller who gave the command to return the plane. At the same time SBU ignores the violation of the international convention, being sure that it is quite normal to return foreign planes. What is more, it claims that there was no talk on fighter jets and this controversy is outside its competence.

Oleksandr Tkachuk, SBU chief of staff:
Our service acted only within the law. We have no information on the threat to use fighter jets. I think it is absurd to believe that our military aircraft may be used against a civilian plane. We can't comment on the issues of civilian flights, it's beyond our competence.

This way or another, but Armen Marirosyan, the victim of such weird actions of SBU, has not yet understood what it was all about and is going to get to know this in the court.

Armen Martirosyan:
I will file a case to challenge the wrongful act of the Ukrainian authorities against me. What threat was found with me, on what grounds did they think like that? Nothing was charged with me, absolutely.

Belavia published the transcript of the dialogue between the aircrew of the Belarusian Boing and Ukrainian controllers from which the treat to use fighter jets is clear.

Armen Martirosyan, the unlucky passenger.