Fled from Belarus dictator: air traffic controller unpacks about Ryanair hijacking


After the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk and the arrest of regime critic Roman Protasevich, new details of the state kidnapping are now coming to light. In the main role: the air traffic controller who forced the crew of the passenger plane to land at the airport in Minsk in May!

As the “New York Times” has now revealed, a former employee of the tower at the Minsk airport, the native Georgian Oleg Galegov, helped Polish investigators to reconstruct the events of the emergency landing ordered by Belarus ruler Alexander Lukashenko.

According to the report, the ex-employee of the Belarusian air traffic control first traveled to his home country, Georgia, in the summer and was missing from his employer. Galegov later traveled to Poland on a previously unknown route, where he turned to the US embassy in Warsaw to describe the events of the dramatic hours.

The US diplomats then recommended Galegov to contact the Polish investigative authorities.



Air traffic controller Oleg Galegov, who forced the Ryanair pilot to make an emergency landing in May, told Polish investigators what was going on during the dramatic hours in the tower at Minsk airportPhoto: nashaniva / Telegram

Because it is said to have been the air traffic controller who, on instructions, forced the Ryanair pilot to land in Minsk!

European security officials, with whom reporters from the New York Times could speak in confidence, confirmed that the man picked up by the Poles had worked as an air traffic controller at Minsk airport. Since his defection, he has presented detailed evidence that the Ryanair flight was hijacked by the Belarusian secret service KGB – with the help of a bogus bomb threat!

The aim of the operation: the arrest of the Belarusian dissident Protasevich.

When asked about the whistleblower, air traffic controller Oleg Galegov, Stanislaw Zaryn, director of the Polish Ministry of National Security, declined to comment on the details of the procedure, according to the Times report.

However, he confirmed that Polish officials had succeeded in gaining “a direct witness to the crime in the Minsk Tower”.

Stanislaw Zaryn added that, according to the witness, an official from the Belarusian secret service KGB was in the control tower and “took control of the air traffic controller at a crucial moment”. Throughout the incident, the Belarusian officer was in “constant telephone contact with someone to whom he reported what was currently happening on the plane”.

According to the report, Oleg Galegov is married to a Belarusian woman. Galegov, who was on duty in the Minsk control tower at the time of the Ryanair incident, was responsible for informing the pilot of the plane that there was a bomb on board and that he should stop his trip to Vilnius and land in Minsk for “security reasons”.

On Twitter, Tadeusz Giczan, a Belarusian journalist living in exile in Great Britain, published a photo of air traffic controller Galegov showing him at an award.

At that time Galegov said in full to the Ryanair pilot from the tower: “For your information, we have information from intelligence services that you have a bomb on board and that it could explode over Lithuania.”

The Lithuanian pilot was already skeptical at the time whether this information was correct – but in the end he did not defy the instructions of air traffic control. For the landing of the vacation plane, a Belarusian fighter jet escorted the plane to the airport in Minsk on the instructions of dictator Lukashenko.


Target of the hijacking: Belarusian dissident Roman Protasevich

The aim of the hijacking: the capture of the Belarusian dissident Roman ProtasevichPhoto: Telegram / Social Media / dpa

According to the Belarusian state media, Lukashenko gave a “clear order” to “turn the plane around and land”.

The state-ordered air piracy and subsequent arrest of the dissident Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who are still in custody in Minsk, led to worldwide consternation – and new sanctions by the European Union against Belarus. In anger about this, dictator Lukashenko blackmailed the EU by inviting thousands of migrants to his country and bringing them to the Polish border.


Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko visited the Polish-Belarusian border region at the end of November for propaganda purposes, in which migrants he had invited were stranded

Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko visited the Polish-Belarusian border region at the end of November for propaganda purposes, in which migrants he invited are stuckPhoto: KACPER PEMPEL / REUTERS

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