The Embassy of Belarus sent a note of protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in connection with the unilateral decision of the Ukrainian side to suspend flights between the two countries. The press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry stated this.
"In connection with the unilateral decision of the Ukrainian side to terminate the air service between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus, the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus sent a note of protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. This note states that the Belarusian side was surprised by the decision of the Ukrainian side to terminate the flight between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus in connection with an aviation event that has nothing to do with Ukraine," the statement reads.
In particular, the Belarusian embassy noted that on October 21, 2016, by the decision of Ukraine, the Belavia airline en route from Kyiv to Minsk was returned by the Ukrainian side to Kyiv's Zhuliany airport under the threat of using combat air force. But then the Belarusian side did not stop flights to Ukraine.
The diplomatic mission stressed that Ukraine and the citizens of Ukraine will suffer losses from the political decision made by Kyiv, as the air blockade organized by Ukraine will not allow the citizens of Belarus to fully use the tourist potential of Ukraine in the height of the tourist season.
On May 23, the founder of the largest opposition telegram channel of Belarus NEXTA, journalist Roman Protasevich, was detained in Minsk. The plane with Roman Protasevich on board flew from Athens to Vilnius. Suddenly, the plane gave a distress signal, changed course, and made an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport. The emergency landing was caused by a mining signal.
The EU stated that the plane of Ryanair Company was forced to land at Minsk Airport due to the actions of the Belarusian military aircraft. CEO of Ryanair Michael O'Leary stated that the forcible landing of Athens-Vilnius flight in Belarus was highjacking backed by the state.
Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen threatened with sanctions the Belarusian officials responsible for the incident with the plane.
The U.S. and a number of the EU countries demand to stop the flights over Belarus, including the flights to the country itself.