Ukraine says Belarus has imposed trade barriers in plane row

·2-min read
A Ryanair aircraft, which was diverted to Belarus, lands at Vilnius Airport in Vilnius

KYIV (Reuters) - Belarus, under global pressure after it forced a Ryanair plane carrying an opposition journalist to land in Minsk, is to introduce "discriminatory" trade barriers against a range of goods from Ukraine, a Ukrainian deputy minister said on Friday.

Ukraine this week banned flights to and from Belarus, following the forced landing of the flight from Greece to Lithuania at the weekend and the arrest of a dissident Belarusian journalist on board.

Deputy economy minister Taras Kachka said on Facebook new six-month licences would be required for the import of Ukrainian goods which would come into force in 10 days.

They would apply, among other things, to confectionery, beer, chipboard, wallpaper, toilet paper, packaging, bricks, ceramic tiles, agricultural machinery, washing machines and furniture.

"Such actions are unjustified and discriminatory. Individual licensing regime means manual control of the import of Ukrainian products to Belarus," he said.

Kachka said the government was talking to producers to try to reduce the negative effects of the licences.

Ukrainian energy analysts said Minsk also suspended fuel supplies to Ukraine. The energy ministry said it could not confirm this but added that the country had sufficient petrol reserves.

On Wednesday, Ukraine's state energy regulatory authority ruled to ban electricity imports from Belarus and its closest ally, Russia, as they are not members of the Energy Community (of South East Europe).

Since Soviet times, Ukraine has been connected to the energy systems of neighbouring states and at the beginning of this year imported energy due to a lack of domestic power generation.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has advised domestic and foreign airlines to avoid Belarusian air space. Ukraine also decided to ban Belarus-registered planes from using its airspace from May 29.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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