REUTERS

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has responded to a recent statement voiced by self-proclaimed President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus to invite representatives of the unrecognized Russian proxy statelet in eastern Ukraine to Minsk to interrogate dissident blogger Roman Protasevich.

Speaking at a morning TV show Snidanok z 1+1 on June 4, Kuleba said that, with his act, Alexander Lukashenko is pushing Ukraine to respond.

At the same time, Kuleba notes Kyiv doesn't want a political or economic war with Minsk, and therefore will "act judiciously."

"This will hurt Alexander Lukashenko. We have enough tools to hurt persons and government who have no respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity. That's especially when it comes to Belarus, the country with which we have multiple ties, including economic ones. I won't be voicing any threats, but I'd like to say there are things we just don't forgive. Disrespect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine is one of those things," Kuleba said.

Today there are no diplomatic channels left operating between Kyiv and Minsk, despite the fact that the embassies are open, Kuleba noted.

Read alsoFrom international law perspective, "Lukashenko is nobody" – Kravchuk"However, [they work] toward resolving humanitarian issues. There's no political dialogue between Ukraine and Belarus yet. Kyiv hasn't recognized Lukashenko," Kuleba said.

Background

  • Ukraine halted air traffic with Belarus from May 26, 2021. What is more, Ukrainian airlines and aircraft are not allowed to fly in Belarusian airspace.
  • On May 23, 2021, Belarus scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet to forcedly land a Ryanair plane in Minsk. The plane was heading from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania. Co-founder of Telegram's opposition channel NEXTA, Roman Protasevich, was on board the plane.
  • The plane was diverted to Minsk at the command of Belarusian air traffic controllers over a possible bomb threat, despite the fact that the distance to Vilnius was much shorter. After the plane landed, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained. Protasevich faces the death penalty in Belarus.
  • The circumstances of the forced landing of the Ryanair airline in Minsk will be investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).