Mr. Cherginets emphasised that he can only talk about Belavia flights (while Russian carriers also service the Moscow-Minsk route) but assumed that other carriers face the same situation. “When flying via Moscow, an Iraqi citizen needs not only a visa of the Republic of Belarus but also a Russian visa,” he said.
Belavia’s General Director turned to statistics: the three daytime flights – conducted yesterday – brought 40, 28 and 57 people from Moscow's Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports. The airline planned to transport 62 and 46 people in the evening. Those were mostly citizens of Belarus and Russia, but there were also passengers from Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. There were only ten foreigners.
“The morning flight had only one person from Iraq. He had a diplomatic passport and I don’t know whether he was an official or a diplomat," Mr. Cherginets explained. “Therefore, speaking in legal and diplomatic language, the information posted by the president of our neighbouring state, namely Lithuania, does not correspond to reality.”
Mr. Cherginets also invited all those who are interested – in particular foreign mass media, employees of diplomatic missions and international organisations accredited in Belarus – to come to his office and get convinced in his words.
“I will personally show these statistics. I cannot share personal data of passengers as this is prohibited by the Belarusian and international legislation. However, we can together with anyone assess the situation and look at representatives of which countries and holders of which passports travel by our flights. I can prove that the words of the Lithuanian president are not true. This refers not only to flights from Moscow but to all Belavia flights,” Mr. Cherginets stressed.