If the West bans Belarusian flag carrier Belavia from leasing planes it may switch to the use of Russian aircraft, Artem Sikorsky, the head of the Belarusian Transport Ministry’s aviation department, said on Wednesday.

“This would be a challenge not only for Belarus but for the entire aviation leasing market, chiefly companies registered in Ireland,” Sikorsky told reporters.

Belarus is calling on the European partners to abstain from “hasty actions” and maintain dialogue, the official added.

“Well, if there are no US planes then we will have the Russian and the Russian-Chinese projects that are being implemented now,” Sikorsky noted.

A potential decision on leasing restrictions would be a “signal to the entire market that tomorrow planes may be withdrawn for political reasons,” according to the aviation department chief. (ANI/Sputnik)