EU may impose 5th sanctions package on Lukashenka regime in mid November, criteria to be expanded

The European Union may introduce its fifth package of sanctions against the Belarusian regime in mid November, Rikard Jozwiak, a Brussels-based contributor to RFE/RL, reports with reference to his own source.

“EU diplomats agreed last week to expand the sanctions criteria for Belarus to include ‘illegal crossing’ of the external borders of an EU member state and ‘smuggling of illegal goods into the territory of a Member State’,” the reporter said on Twitter on Monday.

Names of persons and companies will start to be added to the would-be black list soon.

As reported earlier, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the regime in 2021, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to loosen control over the flow of migrants and banned substances (even nuclear materials) at the border with the European Union. Unfortunately, he is sticking to his word, and the scale of the hybrid aggression waged by the Belarusian authorities has resulted in the growth of the flow of irregular migration.

Opposition leader Latushka: Lukashenka poised to ignite conflict on EU borders

The fifth package will be primarily levelled against individuals and companies responsible for smuggling migrants from the Middle East and Africa to the European Union through the territory of Belarus, Dirk Schuebel, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, said in late October. The top diplomat also confirmed that Brussels would continue discussions on possible sanctions against Belarus’ national air carrier Belavia.

On October 7, the European Parliament approved a resolution on the situation in Belarus. Among other things, MEPs urged EU member countries to continue tightening targeted financial sanctions, focusing on crucial Belarusian sectors, and to immediately promote the fifth package of sanctions against Belarusian individuals and entities ‘involved in the endless crackdown’.

The previous restrictive measures against the Lukashenka regime were introduced by the Council of the EU in order to respond to the escalation of serious human rights violations in Belarus and the violent repression of civil society, democratic opposition and journalists, as well as to the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk on 23 May 2021 and the related detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich and his companion Sofia Sapega.

Lukashenka as ‘head of state smuggling company’: EU may impose stricter sanctions on Belarus airline amid migration crisis