Belarus is ready to retaliate against the EU and the UK, imposing sanctions on carriers flying into its air space and banning people from entering the country.
“In response to the illegitimate restrictions on the Belarusian aviation industry, which are based on unfair competition, our country will take similar steps in relation to air carriers from the European Union and the United Kingdom,” the foreign ministry said today in a statement.
Minsk’s decision came after the EU – alongside the UK, US and Canada – last week sanctioned state-owned carrier Belavia after accusing it of trafficking migrants to destabilise the European bloc, Reuters reported.
The sanctions, coming in form of travel bans and asset freezes, were condemned by the Lukashenko regime and deemed “futile efforts to bring down countries and nations they dislike.”
“It is obvious that the crumbling security and the migrant crisis are not the fault of Belarus but of the Western states that have destroyed the peace and traditional way of life in the countries – the origin of most migrants,” read a statement from the Belarusian foreign ministry on Thursday.
The country stated that “all-unfriendly anti-Belarusian steps will be mirrored by adequate retaliation measures”, adding that “the current round of sanctions is no exception.”
In mid-November, Belavia stopped accepting citizens from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan aboard its flights, following accords with Turkey, Uzbekistan and the UAE.