The European Union may well add four businessmen to its list of Belarusians subject to entry bans and asset freezes for their role in the government’s crackdown on political opponents, EUobserver reported on Thursday, March 1, 2012, with reference to a diplomatic source in Brussels.
According to EUobserver, «Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s close friend, real estate tycoon Yury Chyzh (head of Triple conglomerate and owner of the football club Dynama Minsk) is the number-one candidate, but there can come other names, such as Aliaksandr Mashenski (head of Santa-Impex Brest), Aliaksandr Shakutsin (head of JSC Amkador, Minsk-based manufacturer of road construction and other machinery), and Pavel Tapuzidzis (head of Tabak-Invest and owner of a hypermarket chain).»
On February 27, the EU extended its blacklist by including Minsk city police chief Aliaksandr Barsukou, Minsk City Court Chairman Uladzimir Putsyla and 19 district judges, but Mr. Chyzh was not added to the list because of objections from Slovenia. As Slovenian construction firm Riko Group had won bids for real estate projects with company Triple belonging to Yury Chyzh, this country initially lobbied for getting his name off the new EU list. Mr. Chyzh is believed to be a close associate of Lukashenka and one of his «bag-men».
In March the EU Council will consider the full list of Belarusian enterprises and businessmen who can be embraced by the EU sanctions, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said.
On February 28, 2012 official Minsk recommended Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Belarus and Ambassador of Poland to Belarus to return to their capitals for consultations and «to convey to their leadership a firm position of the Belarusian side on inadmissibility of pressure and sanctions». The country also recalled its own ambassadors from Brussels and Warsaw. It was the reaction of Belarus that was caused by the EU Council decision to blacklist another 21 Belarusian officials.