WASHINGTON — The United States will introduce a series of sanction measures against Belarus over the Ryanair flight diversion incident, the White House said Friday.
“On June 3, 2021, the United States will re-impose full blocking sanctions against nine Belarusian state-owned enterprises previously granted relief under a series of General Licenses by the Treasury Department,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The United States is developing a list of targeted sanctions against key members of the Belarusian government. The Treasury Department will develop a new executive order giving President Joe Biden greater authority to impose sanctions against Belarus, said the statement.
The United States will also suspend its discretionary application of the 2019 US-Belarus Air Services Agreement, it added.
The Irish airline Ryanair said that the flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was directed to an airport in Minsk on Sunday as crew on the plane had been alerted to a possible security threat by Belarusian authorities, but nothing untoward was found.
The Biden administration earlier this week condemned the incident “in the strongest possible terms,” calling it a “direct affront to international norms.”
On Friday, when discussing the aftermath of the Ryanair incident with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said, “there has been an attempt to stir up the situation.”
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the reaction of Western countries to the Ryanair incident was “hysterical” and it is essential to analyze all the data before jumping to conclusions.