Why Belarus is sanctioned?

Why Belarus is sanctioned?

Belarus is in the European union

European Union (EU) foreign ministers have approved new sanctions against Belarus for “instrumentalizing” civilians at the European border, in what they have defined as a “hybrid attack”.  Poland has reported 118 new attempts to cross the border on Monday and fears a massive assault.

This fifth round of sanctions is announced after Belarus threatened to close the natural gas crossing, a challenge by Lukashenko that was later dismissed by Russia. However, the tension between Belarus and Europe continues to grow as the situation for migrants becomes more and more extreme.

Some people have already died and there are fears for the safety of the rest. It is estimated that at least 60% of the migrants are in need of medical care and the humanitarian aid arriving is not enough for all of them. Poland’s Border Guard said more than 17,000 attempts were made to cross the border in October, more than double the number in September.

Countries sanctioned by the European Union

The European Union yesterday laid the groundwork for a fifth round of sanctions against Aleksander Lukashenko’s regime to punish senior officials and companies, including airlines and travel agencies, involved in “human trafficking” to bring migrants from the Middle East to Belarus in what they define as “a hybrid war”.

“The road to the European Union does not go through Belarus,” EU Foreign Policy Representative Josep Borrell warned in a strong statement, riveting the message that the information spreading among migrants about supposedly easy entry to the EU through Belarus is nothing but hoaxes and very dangerous. “We must prevent people from being instrumentalized, violated and swindled” for political objectives.

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Sanctions on Belarus

The Council of the European Union (EU) decided on Thursday (2) to impose the first sanctions on Belarus related to the migrant crisis at its border, with the approval of restrictive measures on 17 individuals and 11 entities, including the Belarusian airline Belavia.

“The European Union will not tolerate the orchestrated and politically motivated instrumentalization of human beings by the Lukashenko regime. This cynical strategy of exploiting vulnerable people is an abominable attempt to divert attention from the regime’s continued disregard for international law, fundamental freedoms and human rights in Belarus,” the Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, stated in the note.

Currently, in total, EU sanctions related to Belarus apply to 183 individuals and 26 entities subject to an asset freeze and a ban on travel or transit through EU territory.

Restrictive measures definition

The Polish Prime Minister, for his part, has advocated “additional sanctions, for example, in relation to airlines, including Belarusian airlines”. And he called for a videoconference meeting of EU heads of government to address the crisis: “It is a very serious problem. The pressure on the Lukashenko regime has to increase. Without targeted sanctions we will not be able to achieve the desired results.”

The White House confirmed to Efe on Wednesday that it is preparing sanctions against Belarus for its “ruthless exploitation and coercion” of migrants stranded on that country’s border with Poland, and that it will impose them unless Minsk resolves the situation.

The United States is “deeply concerned” about the “inhumane actions of the regime” of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, which have generated a crisis with Poland and the European Union (EU), a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, who requested anonymity, told Efe.

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“We are preparing new sanctions in close coordination with the EU and other partners and allies; sanctions that will hold the Lukashenko regime accountable for its persistent attacks on democracy, human rights and international norms if it does not change course immediately,” the spokesman stressed.

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