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Belarus Starts Trade War against Ukraine

Border of Belarus

The Belarusian authorities imposed an individual licensing regime for the import of a number of Ukrainian goods.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, the sanctions will affect confectionery, chocolate, juices, beer, chipboard and fiberboard, wallpaper, toilet paper and packaging, bricks, ceramic tiles, school ampoules, agricultural sowing machinery, washing machines, and furniture.

The decision was approved by a resolution of the Council of Ministers of Belarus on 26 May. It will take effect 10 days after publication and will remain in force for six months.

The Ukrainian Ministry emphasises that such actions are “unreasonable and discriminatory.” According to the Ministry, the individual licensing regime means manual control over imports of Ukrainian products in Belarus.

Minsk, meanwhile, has stated it is ready to lift restrictions if Kyiv reconsiders its decisions on economic relations between Ukraine and Belarus. The corresponding statement was made by Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Alexander Guryanov.

It is officially reported that Belarus is establishing a one-time licensing for Ukrainian imports of certain goods not because Ukraine imposed aviation sanctions but solely because Kyiv is “systematically violating the free trade regime.”

In particular, according to Guryanov, Ukraine previously imposed duties on some items of Belarusian metal products, wheeled vehicles, matches, starch, building materials, cement, and incandescent lamps.

Ukrainian media also reported that the Belarusian oil company had not yet confirmed the supply of A-95 gasoline to Ukrainian contractors for June. Later, the Belarusian side announced that it did not plan to stop the supply of gasoline of this type to Ukraine but may reduce volumes due to the repair works at the Mozyr Oil Refinery.

As a reminder, Ukraine has suspended scheduled flights to the Republic of Belarus and banned Ukrainian airlines from flying over the country’s airspace since 26 May. On 29 May, a similar ban was imposed on flights for Belarusian carriers over the territory of Ukraine.

A number of EU countries also imposed restrictions on flights to and from Belarus.

These measures were a response to the emergency forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk on 23 May. Former Belarusian oppositionist Raman Pratasevich, who was detained at the airport by Belarusian security forces, had been on board the flight from Athens to Vilnius.

Bohdan Marusyak

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