Updated at 14:52,24-02-2021

Foreign plane was allowed across Lithuanian border by mistake


The unauthorized flight of a plane across the Lithuanian border on July 4 was probably due to a "small mistake" made by on-duty air defense officers, Arvydas Anusauskas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliament’s national security and defense committee, told the Ziniu radijas radio station.

One small mistake may prove important, Mr. Anusauskas said. Although the plane was detected by radars and recorded as unidentified when it was leaving Lithuania, it suddenly became "identified" upon return, he said.

"What can I say?" Mr. Anusauskas said. "Estonians were on duty. There are Lithianians and also Estonians and Latvians in Karmelava. Estonians were on duty. We cannot do anything to Estonian officers."

Lithuania made a mistake and should now admit it, he said.

Lithuania's State Border Guard Service normally does not investigate airspace violations, but it has launched an investigation into the July 4 incident at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office, Mr. Anusauskas said.

On July 4, a single-engine plane piloted by two representatives of Sweden's public relations agency Studio Total invaded Belarus' airspace and dropped hundreds of teddy bears with "pro-free speech" signs on the town of Ivyanets and Minsk before flying back to Lithuania unhindered.

Earlier this month, the Belarusian authorities asked Lithuania and Sweden to help them investigate the invasion of Belarus' airspace on July 4.

Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene said on August 9 that Lithuania had no information about the incident, and that Belarus' request for legal assistance would be considered in accordance with national regulations.