There are several theories about why Russia may have been involved in what was effectively the kidnapping of the Belarus opposition journalist Raman Pratesevich and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega. All of them are underpinned by one rationale. President Putin needs to keep Belarus in Moscow’s sphere of influence, and at the moment that requires keeping President Alexander Lukashenko in power.

The four Russians on board the flight, diverted to Minsk after a bomb hoax, failed to reboard when the Ryanair jet was allowed to fly on to Vilnius. This suggests a joint operation between the Russian FSB and its Belarusian counterpart the KGB. The Belarusian version of events is that they didn’t know Pratesevich was on board, that they received a bomb threat, that they told several airports about it and, later, that the threat had been made by Hamas. Their story has holes you could fly a Russian Antonov cargo transporter through. No other airport appears to have been informed, the Lithuanians were told there was an altercation between passengers on board, and for once Hamas can be believed when it denied making a threat.