US targets seven Belarusian national transport planes for violating export controls By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737-800 plane of Belarusian airline Belavia takes off at Domodedovo airport outside Moscow, Russia May 28, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo
By David Shepardson
(Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department confirmed on Thursday that it has identified seven Boeing (NYSE:) 737 jets operated by Belarusian flag carrier Belavia that are in apparent violation of U.S. export controls.
The seven planes operated by Belarus are the first to be identified since restrictions on Belarus were tightened last week. The Commerce Department said restrictions that prevent them from operating overseas services should effectively keep them away from future international flights.
The list of planes subject to restrictions, imposed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now includes 146 Russian-owned or operated planes and seven Belarusian planes
Belavia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Export controls prevent companies around the world from providing refueling, maintenance, repair, spare parts or services to identified aircraft.
The Commerce Department’s actions are part of the Biden administration’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the department said Belarus enabled and supported.
Assistant Commerce Secretary Don Graves said: “By rejecting the international rule of law, Russia and Belarus have made it clear that they do not deserve the benefits of participating in the global economy, and that includes the international travel.”
The department last week stepped up its crackdown on Russian airlines, slapping Aeroflot, Azur Air and UTair with enforcement action for violating US export controls.
The enforcement action strips the three Russian carriers of export privileges and targets all airlines, not just specific planes. The US government believes these actions will over time render carriers largely unable to continue flights.
Previously, the United States had identified more than 170 Boeing planes operated by Russian airlines in violation of US sanctions, including about 40 Aeroflot Boeing 737s and 777s, 21 Boeing Azurs and 17 UTair Boeings. He withdrew some who left Russia.
The United States, the European Union and other countries have banned Russian planes from entering American airspace.