Updated at 14:52,24-02-2021

Studio Total refuses to come because they are scared, KGB says


The individuals responsible for the invasion of Belarus' airspace by a foreign plane on July 4 have refused to come to Minsk for questioning because they realize that they committed a crime and are afraid of punishment, Alyaksandr Antanovich, spokesman for the Committee for State Security (KGB), told BelaPAN on Tuesday.

The plane was piloted by representatives of Sweden's public relations agency Studio Total who dropped teddy bears over the Belarusian territory in a pro-democracy stunt.
Such a reaction was predictable considering that an illegal border crossing is an offense that carries a prison term of up to two years in Belarus and up to 10 years in Lithuania, Mr. Antanovich said.

In one of his interviews, Per Cromwell, co-founder of Studio Total, stated that the PR stunt was more important for him than laws, which shows just how irresponsible this person is, he said.

"He and his accomplices have gotten scared, but no one doubted that they would get cold feet," Mr. Antanovich said. "It was easy for them to draw citizens of a sovereign state into a provocation, but they do not have the courage to help the young men now."

KGB investigators are waiting for official replies from Lithuania and Sweden to a request for assistance with investigating the incident, Mr. Antanovich said.

The law-enforcement agencies of any country would definitely confirm that an illegal border crossing is a criminal offense, he stressed.

On August 10, the KGB summoned three representatives of Studio Total to appear in Minsk for questioning in connection with the teddy bear stunt.

Posted on the KGB website, the summons were addressed to Tomas Mazetti and Hannah Lina Frey, the people who piloted a single-engine plane when it entered Belarus' airspace illegally and dropped hundreds of teddy bears on the town of Ivyanets and residential districts in western Minsk on July 4, as well as to Mr. Cromwell who was legally staying in Belarus on that day to provide assistance to his associates in the event of emergency.

The KGB warned that if Messrs. Cromwell and Mazetti and Ms. Frey failed to obey the summons, they would face a fine, a prison sentence of up to six months, or a correctional labor term of up to two years. If they fail to present themselves before the deadline without a good excuse, they may be compelled to travel in Minsk, the KGB said.

Mr. Antanovich earlier indicated that the fates of Anton Surapin and Syarhey Basharymaw, the young Belarusians arrested over the incident, depended on them.

In a sarcastic reply addressed to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, representatives of Studio Total said that they would not voluntarily surrender themselves to the KGB, "a police force that is ranked as Europe's most corrupt and brutal," and suggested that the Belarusian "dictator" come to visit them in Sweden instead.