Updated at 14:37,26-01-2021

Belarus’ Air Defence: 'Bear Drop' is 100% provocation

Nasha Niva

"The incident was 100% provocation against Belarus supported by foreign secret services. Belarusian air force and air defence units did not confirmed violation of Belarusian air side by unidentified planes", Major General Dzmitry Pakhmielkin, the commander of Belarusian air force and air defence.

"What the provocation covered by mass media is concerned — a lightweight aircraft which crossed Belarusian border near town Ivianiec — the investigation on the incident has not been finished yet", the general added.

Mr. Pakhmielkin says that in case the violator had been identified, "we would have sent fighters or in critical case helicopters to intercept the air border violator".

"In accordance with Belarusian laws we cannot open fire against civil plane which entered Belarus", said the general as reported by RFE/RL.

However, the action of Swedish pilots was called very risky as in 1995 an American balloon that accidentally entered Belarusian air side was shot down by Belarusian air defense forces. The two pilots — Alan Frenchel and John Stewart — who participated in an international balloon rally were killed.