Ukraine will impose sanctions on Belarus if it launches flights to Crimea - Dzheppar.

Ukraine will act immediately against any attempts to legitimize Russia's occupation of Crimea, and if at least one plane of a Belarusian airline flies to the occupied Crimea, sanctions will be inevitable with all the negative consequences, Ukraine's First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar has told Ukrinform.

She said that "we have recorded for ourselves the statements of Mr. Lukashenko regarding the appeal to Russia and Putin regarding the possible launch of flights to the occupied Crimea."

According to Dzheppar, these are provocative statements and are probably Lukashenko's emotional reaction to Ukraine's response to the forced landing of a Ryanair plane at the Minsk airport, as well as to the Belarusian authorities' further attack on the opposition and freedom of speech, including the arrest of Belarusian opposition leader Roman Protasevich, the blocking of independent media, etc.

"We will act immediately against any attempts to legitimize Russia's occupation of Crimea, against any attempts to establish contacts with the so-called 'LPR' or 'DPR.' And if at least one plane of a Belarusian airline finds itself on the territory of the occupied Crimea, sanctions will be inevitable with all the negative consequences," Dzheppar said.

On May 23, the Belarusian authorities scrambled a fighter jet to force a Ryanair plane, en route from Athens to Vilnius, to land in Minsk. Roman Protasevich, the founder of the Nexta channel, and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, were traveling on the plane. Belarusian security forces detained them after the plane landed.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine banned direct flights to Belarus from May 26. In addition, Ukraine closed its airspace to Belarusian planes on May 29.

At the same time, after Ukraine closed its skies to Belarusian planes, Lukashenko asked Putin to let them fly through Russia to Crimea.

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