OTTAWA (Reuters) -The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed on Thursday to probe the forced grounding of a Ryanair passenger plane in Minsk, Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said.
ICAO’s 36-nation governing council met to examine demands by the United States and several allies for an investigation into the incident. Ryan said ICAO would produce an interim report by June 25.
“We fully support ICAO’s decision to carry out a transparent and independent investigation into the incident in Belarus and welcome the support of our international colleagues in ensuring this will be done,” Ryan added in a statement.
Belarus scrambled a fighter and used a false bomb alert to divert the flight to Minsk and detain a dissident Belarusian journalist. The plane, traveling from Athens to Vilnius, was almost in Lithuanian airspace when ordered to land.
The incident sparked international outrage and calls for sanctions against Belarus. Minsk accused the West of using the episode to wage “hybrid war” against it.
“These unacceptable actions were an attack on European aviation security and put in danger the lives of the passengers and crew as they traveled between two EU capitals,” said Ryan.