Ukrainian Foreign Ministry threatens sanctions if at least one Belarusian plane flies to Crimea

Emine Japarova. Photo:

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has warned Alyaksandr Lukashenka against legitimizing the Russian occupation of Crimea.

Emine Dzhaparova, first deputy head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, said that Ukraine would react instantly if even one Belavia plane landed in Russia-occupied Crimea, Ukrinform reported.

“We have recorded for ourselves Lukashenka‘s statements regarding the appeal to Russia and Putin with the possible opening of flights to the occupied Crimea,” Dzhaparova said.

In her view, the provocative statements may be Lukashenka’s emotional reaction to Ukraine’s response to the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk, as well as to sanctions following the Belarusian authorities’ attack on the opposition and freedom of speech.

“We will immediately act against any attempts to legitimize the Russian occupation of Crimea, against any attempts to establish contacts with the so-called ‘LNR’ or ‘DNR.’ And if even one plane of a Belarusian airline ends up on the territory of the occupied Crimea, sanctions will be inevitable with all the negative consequences,” Dzhaparova said.

According to her, Lukashenka is personally responsible for the sanctions and restrictions in air relations with Belarus and the inconvenience to Belarus citizens.

Dzhaparova also warned that Lukashenka risks being put on trial in The Hague together with Putin in the case of the occupation of Crimea and parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. At the same time, she is convinced that this is his personal choice, not the position of the Belarusian people.

On June 1, Lukashenka said that Belarus and Russia would work out opening flights to Crimea and added that he had personally asked Putin to do so.

He also said he had no objection to representatives of the “LNR prosecutor’s office” coming to Belarus to question detained journalist Raman Pratasevich.