Liimets: Sanctioning Minsk Airport, Belavia would be appropriate

It would be appropriate to target Minsk Airport and Belarusian airline Belavia in the EU's next round of sanctions, Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said on Wednesday.

Speaking to radio show "Uudis+", the minister said the European Union's fifth round of Belarusian sanctions are still being discussed.

The framework was extended on Monday to include people and businesses involved in facilitating the illegal crossing of the EU's external borders.

Liimets said it would be unreasonable to comment on exactly who the sanctions will apply to before they are finalized.

"Dozens of people are on this list and there is currently a debate on who will remain on the final list," Liimets said. The information will be announced in the coming days, she added.

However, the minister said Minsk Airport and Belavia should be included.

"As people travel through Minsk Airport, its inclusion is very relevant. [Belavia] is definitely related to the arrival of immigrants in Belarus. In this context, it would be appropriate," Liimets said.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called for Minsk Airport to become a no-fly zone.

On Thursday he said an EU member state appears to be pushing for Belavia to be removed from the bloc's fresh sanction list, Lithuania's public broadcaster LRT reported.

So far, 166 individuals and 15 entities have been affected by EU sanctions.

New sanctions are being discussed after months-long tensions on the EU's eastern borders escalated further last week. Several thousand migrants massed near the Belarusian-Polish border and some tried to force their way into Poland.

As of Thursday, thousands are still gathered at the border.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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