The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has prepared sanctions proposals against representatives of Alexander Lukashenko's regime in Belarus.
The package is yet to be considered by the National Security and Defense Council, Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin told Ukraine 24 TV, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"Since the onset of protests in Belarus, the Ukrainian government has become solidary with the position of its international partners, and above all, the European Union, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has prepared an appropriate sanctions package, which has been submitted for consideration to the National Security Council. We hope that in the near future, perhaps, this package will be considered, and the relevant decisions will be followed by a presidential decree," Yenin said.
It is primarily proposed to impose sanctions against representatives of the Belarusian regime who took part in rigging elections or were involved in repressions against civilians.
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- On October 2, 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions against 40 Belarusian officials, and subsequently, on November 6 – against another 14 officials, as well as personally against Alexander Lukashenko. The decision to impose restrictive measures was taken due to the suppression of peaceful protests and doctoring presidential election results.
- On December 17, the EU Council introduced the third package of sanctions against 29 Belarus-based individuals and 7 entities. Restrictive measures include an entry ban and an asset freeze. Citizens of EU member states are prohibited from providing financial assistance to any sanctioned individuals and entities.
- In November, Ukraine joined the move by the EU Council to impose sanctions against 40 Belarusian officials. However, in January 2021, it became known that Kyiv did not join the third package.
Ryanair plane forced to land in Belarus: Background
On May 23, 2021, Belarus scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet to forcedly land a Ryanair plane in Minsk. The plane was heading from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania. Co-founder of Telegram's opposition channel NEXTA, Roman Protasevich, was on board the plane.
The plane was diverted to Minsk at the command of Belarusian air traffic controllers over a possible bomb threat, despite the fact that the distance to Vilnius was much shorter. After the plane landed, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained. Protasevich faces the death penalty in Belarus.
The circumstances of the forced landing of the Ryanair airline in Minsk will be investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Ukraine halted air traffic with Belarus from 00:00 Kyiv time on May 26, 2021. What is more, Ukrainian airlines and aircraft are not allowed to fly in Belarusian airspace.
Ukraine's government has also approved a ban on the use of Ukrainian airspace by Belarusian aircraft starting May 29.
Reporting by Yevgeny Matyushenko