The Russian woman Sofia Sapega, detained in Belarus, spoke about the non-involvement of the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) in the forced landing of the Ryanair airline at the Minsk airport on 23 May. She made on the air of the show “This is different.”
According to Sapieha, the environment of the ex-editor-in-chief of the opposition Telegram-channel NEXTA Roman Protasevich could have been involved in the landing of the plane.
She also stated that there were no employees of the Belarusian special services on board the plane. In addition, the Russian woman spoke about her health: “It’s too early to talk about plans, but at the moment I feel much better than in the first days. [после задержания]… The mood is normal, I am ready to move on. “
Belarusian political scientist Dmitry Bolkunets in an interview with “Lenta.ru” expressed the opinion that with the help of these statements by Sapieha, the Belarusian authorities are trying to once again justify their actions regarding the Ryanair aircraft.
He believes that one cannot believe Sapieha’s statements, since now she is, in fact, a hostage and says what the Belarusian authorities are asking for. According to Bolkunets, at first President Lukashenko flaunts the involvement of the Belarusian special services in the landing of the plane, but when the authorities realized that they had provoked the crisis, they tried to absolve themselves of responsibility for it.
Soon after the arrest, Protasevich agreed to cooperate with the investigation and gave several interviews, in which he repeated the theses of the official Minsk about the riots, accused the opposition of foreign funding and praised Lukashenka.
He said that the administrators and owners of popular Telegram channels were the real organizers of the Belarusian protests, while the role of the opposition in them was significantly overestimated. Protasevich explained that it was the administrators of channels such as NEXTA who coordinated the way people took to the streets. After that, he was placed under house arrest and allowed access to the Internet.
This week Lukashenka announced plans of Poland and Lithuania to assassinate Protasevich. The President stressed that he was not happy with the presence of the oppositionist on the territory of the country, since he had to be protected in order to avoid being killed. According to the Belarusian leader, it could lead to a new round of pressure from Western countries.
Relatives and friends of Protasevich believe that he could not make his statements voluntarily. His father Dmitry said that he did not believe “not a single word” of his son, and assured that his testimony was knocked out under torture. Protasevich’s mother also said about the torture of her son in the pre-trial detention center. The founder of NEXTA, Stepan Putilo, is convinced that Protasevich was treated with medication “to increase his talkativeness and develop a violent imagination based on rumors once heard somewhere.” “Roman’s nervous breakdown at the end of the interrogation conversation can also speak of this,” said the founder of NEXTA.
On June 18, the European Union approved sanctions against the largest Belarusian enterprises. We are talking about the spheres of oil, gas, potash production and telecommunications. The EU also plans to impose restrictions on large companies in the country, freeze assets and ban travel to the territory of the countries of the union for some individuals and legal entities. The introduction of sanctions was explained by the incident with Protasevich and Sapieha.