The Belarusian authorities have requested Lithuania and Sweden to help them investigate the invasion of Belarus' airspace by a foreign plane on July 4, Alyaksandr Antanovich, spokesman for the Committee for State Security (KGB), told BelaPAN.
The requests have been sent through the Prosecutor General's Office, Mr. Antanovich said.
The unauthorized flight of the plane piloted by Swedish nationals constituted a violation of the airspace rules of not only Belarus but also Sweden, Lithuania and NATO, he noted.
To ensure impartial investigation, the perpetrators and organizers of the flight should come in Minsk for questioning, as a face-to-face confrontation would be impossible via a video link-up, Mr. Antanovich said when asked whether Belarus would request the Swedish police to question them on home turf.
Belarus' requests for investigative assistance come shortly after the expulsion of Swedish Ambassador Stefan Eriksson, which sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries. On Wednesday morning, the Belarusian foreign ministry announced that Belarus had recalled all its embassy staff from Stockholm and told Sweden to withdraw all its diplomats from Minsk before August 30.
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.
Two Belarusian young men, Anton Surapin and Syarhey Basharymaw, were arrested in connection with the pro-democracy stunt and charged with complicity in a crime and assistance to illegal entry.
Announcing their stunt, Studio Total released videos made during the flight.
The Belarusian defense ministry initially denied that any aircraft had invaded the country's airspace on that day, described the videos as fake and said that the Swedish firm had invented the story.
On July 13, the KGB arrested Mr. Surapin. The news site Belarusian News Photos, founded by Mr. Surapin, a 20-year-old fourth-year student at Belarusian State University's Journalism Institute, ran images of the teddy bears with miniature placards lying on the grass hours after the drop. In his comments, Mr. Surapin said that he had received them from an anonymous author living outside Minsk.
Mr. Basharymaw is believed to have leased out an apartment to representatives of Studio Total who arrived in Belarus to take pictures of the drop and provide help to the pilots in case of emergency.
Studio Total representatives said in July that they had not had any contact with Belarusian citizens prior to the stunt and the arrested people were innocent.