June 24, 2024

The European Union and the United States have decided to extend sanctions against Belarus

3 min read
UE e EUA decidem ampliar sanções contra Belarus
The European Union and the United States have decided to extend sanctions against Belarus

Polish security forces at the Bruz-Kuznica checkpoint on the Belarus border on 19 November 2021 – BELTA / AFP

According to European sources, representatives of 27 countries of the European Union (EU) reached a political agreement this Wednesday (January 1) to expand the list of sanctions against Belarus, including 28 employees and companies. The United States also announced new sanctions “very soon.”

The European agreement has not yet been formally ratified by the Council of Ministers on Thursday, before the names of officials and companies are published in the EU’s official gazette.

According to European sources, 17 officials and 11 Belarusian companies will be added to the approved list.

The EU sanctions list already includes 166 names, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his two sons, and 15 companies affiliated with his government.

All of them have been barred from entering EU space and their assets belonging to that group will be frozen.

The list was approved by the European Union after the Belarusian government suppressed protests in 2020, accusing Lukashenko of rigging the re-election.

In addition, Lukashenko’s government forced a passenger plane to land in Kiev to arrest an opponent.

Following the gesture, the European Union banned Belarusian airlines from accessing European space and using its airports.

In recent months, the European Union (EU) has accused Belarus of increasing the tide of relocation to the camp’s three countries, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, in retaliation for sanctions.

– “Political Weapons” –

The United States has said it will announce new sanctions “very soon” for similar reasons.

“I hope you will soon see the integrated sanctions package with the EU,” a US official said Wednesday after the EU’s announcement.

According to this diplomatic source, the new sanctions could be finalized this weekend.

Later that day, after a NATO meeting in Latvia, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that Washington was preparing new sanctions against Lukashenko’s government.

“We urge the government to immediately stop using immigrants as political weapons,” he said.

Lukashenko’s government denies being behind this wave of migration.

According to the latest data from the European Commission, nearly 8,000 migrants arrived in the EU via Belarus this year: 4,285 in Lithuania, 3,255 in Poland and 426 in Latvia.

The European Union (EU) has said it will not allow companies from other countries to transport migrants to Belarus in the face of what it considers a “dictatorial government” attempt to “align its borders”.

The European Commission has already introduced a bill in this regard, which last week estimated the number of “arrested” immigrants in Belarus at 15,000, including 2,000 on the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

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