Aeroflot plane searched by UK authorities, crew ordered to leave
Aeroflot confirmed to RT that UK police and customs services performed a search aboard its Airbus A321 aircraft after it landed in the British capital on Thursday. The carrier expressed “bewilderment” that there was no reason or justification provided for the search.
Moreover, UK authorities forced the crew out of the plane and isolated the captain in the cabin.
“Such actions by the UK representatives contradict the international practice of performing such inspections,” Aeroflot pointed out, adding that it is ready to cooperate with Britain if it justifies and explains its actions.
The chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Transport Committee, Vitaly Yefimov, also called the actions of British authorities “illegal” and said they violated international regulations.
“The board of the airplane is the territory of Russia, just like its embassy,” Yefimov told Tass. “It is a precedent… It’s the first time on my memory when the authorities go in and inspected an aircraft with no justification. They have no right to do it.”
An inspection of a plane can only be carried out in agreement with the crew, the MP stressed, adding that he’s waiting for official explanations from the British.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, earlier said that the search of the Aeroflot Airbus A321 was yet another anti-Russian provocation by the UK.
The reckless act might have been an attempt by London to somehow save its reputation, which was heavily damaged by the Skripal case, Zakharova said.
The Metropolitan police denied the force had inspected an airbus that had landed at Heathrow having departed from Moscow.
"We are aware of a story circulating on social media. Please be advised that Metropolitan Police are not conducting a search of an Airbus inbound from Moscow at Heathrow." ■