Belarus to appeal to ICAO over EU and Ukraine airspace bans

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Belarus intends to appeal to the ICAO after Ukraine, the member states of the European Union and other states banned the state-owned Belarusian airline Belavia from using their airspace.

“The decision taken by Ukraine unilaterally to restrict the use of the airspace of Ukraine by Belarusian aircraft violates the provisions of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944,” the Aviation Department of the Ministry of Transport of Belarus claimed in a statement on June 2, 2021. 

The authority questions the ability of Ukraine to ensure flight safety, citing incidents such as MH17 or the shootdown of Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 by Ukrainian air defense forces during an exercise in 2001.

On May 25, 2021, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Council banned Belavia from the EU’s airspace and asked their airlines to avoid the overflight of Belarus, following the diversion of Ryanair flight FR4978 and the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega on May 23, 2021. Ukraine took a similar decision on May 26, 2021.

As a consequence, Belavia can only fly to 9 of the 30 destinations it used to service before the incident. “21 countries are a big loss for the company, but the Belavia team is working hard to cope,” the company said in a statement.

On May 31, 2021, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko reported discussing the creation of flights from Belarus to Crimea during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin three days before. Belarus previously refused to recognize Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.


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