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Belarus Threatens To Halt EU Goods Transit In Retaliation For Sanctions

Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo)

Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka has threatened to halt European Union goods transiting his country in retaliation for sanctions imposed by Brussels.

During a government meeting on July 6, Lukashenka likened the sanctions by the West, and the EU in particular, to a "war" and said Belarus could stop the transit of goods from the bloc headed eastward.

"First: not a step inside the Belarusian market; second: not a step through Belarus either," he told the meeting.

The EU last month imposed sanctions on Belarus's main exports and cut the country off from financing to punish it for diverting a European flight in May in order to arrest an opposition journalist.

Analysts said the EU sanctions will have a limited impact on the Belarusian economy.

Lukashenka told the government meeting that Belarus should block goods coming from Germany, the largest economy in the EU.

"Let [them] supply their products to China and Russia through Finland. Or through Ukraine," he added.

He did not say when such transit restrictions could be imposed on goods from Germany or whether other countries would face similar constraints.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP