Ukraine halted air traffic with Belarus as of May 26 / Photo from UNIAN, by Andriy Mariyenko
Resumption of flights between Ukraine and Belarus will depend on how the neighboring country's leaders will treat political prisoners.
This was announced by Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov at a briefing after a NSDC meeting on Friday.
"As for the resumption of air communication with Belarus – it will not depend on us, but on the behavior of Belarus, how they will treat political prisoners. They have thousands of them there as of today," he said.
Danilov also mentioned the European Union had unanimously decided to ban aircraft from Belarus starting from June 5.
- 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.
- 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).
- According to Reuters, European Union ambassadors decided to ban Belarusian airlines from 00:00 (CET) on June 5 from flying over EU territory or landing at EU airports.
Translation: Akulenko Olena