• Alexander Lukashenko says will stop the flow of goods to Russia and China
  • An order banning the sale of flight tickets between Belarus and the US finalized
  • Tensions have been high following the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday threatened to stop the flow of European Union products through his country as the U.S. joined the EU in sanctioning Belarus.

The EU sanctioned Belarus after a MiG-29 fighter plane intercepted a Ryanair flight that carried opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and forced it to land in Minsk in May. Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia SapeTga were arrested after the plane landed.

Many of the country’s main export industries are impacted by the EU sanctions.

According to The Hill, the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday finalized the order that bans the sale of flight tickets between Belarus and the United States in retaliation for that action.

However, the Belarusian president clapped back with a warning during a government meeting.

Reuters reported that Lukashenko warned of not allowing EU goods to pass through his country. “First: not a step inside the Belarusian market; second: not a step through Belarus either,” he said.

“Let [Germany] supply their products to China and Russia through Finland or through Ukraine,” was reported as saying. “In other words, we must take all measures to make them feel what Belarus is and think before they take up economic weapons.”

Lukashenko went on to threaten that German products would be affected if he stops the flow of goods that pass through Belarus before arriving at their destined markets.

Tensions have been running high between the EU and Belarus over the past few weeks. It is not immediately clear when Lukashenko would enforce the transit restrictions, and how much worth of goods move through the country to Russia and China from the EU bloc.

According to Deutsche Welle, Lukashenko has been cracking down on the opposition. He has imposed media restrictions to prevent opposing sides from disputing his win after last August's election.

Protasevich, who is a critic of Lukashenko, was transferred to house arrest last week. He is faced with multiple charges, including the alleged inciting of mass unrest.

Meanwhile, U.N. Special Rapporteur Anaïs Marin demanded that Belarus free more than 500 jailed people considered by human rights groups as “political prisoners.”

In a report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Marin cited the arrest of Protasevich as a “form of purge that recalls those practised by totalitarian states.”

The U.S. has been coordinating with other countries in the bloc in sanctioning Belarus following the arrest of Protasevich. The U.S. and EU states have also criticized the imprisonment of top Lukashenko opponent Viktor Babaryko.

Babaryko was found guilty of money-laundering charges and has been sentenced to 14 years, BBC reported.

The U.S. and the United Kingdom have condemned the decision, with the British embassy stating it will fight for the rights of Babaryko and other prisoners jailed on “political charges.”