EU sanctions against Minsk counterproductive — Putin to EC head Charles Michel

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MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The EU sanctions pressure on Belarus is counterproductive, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the phone call with European Council President Charles Michel.

“In regards to the additional sanctions pressure measures against Belarus, undertaken by the EU, Vladimir Putin underscored the counterproductiveness of such approach, as well as any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of this sovereign state,” the Kremlin press service announced Monday.

The Ryanair plane incident and sanctions against Minsk

The situation regarding the flights to and over Belarus escalated after the plane made an emergency landing in Minsk on May 23. The plane en route from Athens to Vilnius landed in Minsk over a bomb threat, which was not confirmed during the inspection. Later, Minsk revealed that the Nexta Telegram channel (deemed extremist in Belarus) founder Roman Protasevich and Russian national Sofia Sapega were aboard the place. They were apprehended by Belarusian law enforcement. The plane departed from Minsk the same day and later landed in Vilnius.

The actions of the Belarusian authorities sparked harsh criticism in the West. EU countries barred their carriers from flying over Belarus and barred Belarusian carrier Belavia from flying in the EU.