Reuters: EU close to deal on new round of sanctions against Lukashenka regime, German FM announces ‘decisive action’

Amid the ongoing migration crisis at the Belarusian-Polish border, the European Union is close to imposing more sanctions on Belarus, targeting some 30 individuals and entities including its foreign minister and Belarusian airline Belavia, with approval as early as next week, Reuters reports with reference to three EU diplomats.

EU and NATO accuse Alyaksandr Lukashenka of using migrants as a tool to exert pressure on the West and retaliate for sanctions imposed on Minsk in response to persecution of protesters and numerous human rights violations in Belarus. The new package of sanctions might affect those Belarusian officials who, according to the bloc, are fostering the flow of migration through Belarus to EU member countries.

“Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey, who defended Belarus’ record at the United Nations General Assembly in September, is one senior official set to be sanctioned because his ministry is accused of handing out Belarusian visas to non-EU nationals, notably Syrians and Iraqis,” Reuters quotes the diplomats.

Reuters’ author Robin Emmott recalls that the EU banned state-owned airline Belavia from EU airspace and EU airports and says that would-be direct sanctions on the airline would prevent it from being able to lease aircraft from Irish, Romanian and Danish companies.

Belarus military expert speculates on what Lukashenka wants to achieve with migration crisis

On November 10, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented on the current situation on the EU border, calling the recent steps taken by Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his allies ‘perfidious and inhuman behaviour’. According to him, the European Union ‘will not be held hostage’; the minister noted that no one involved in Lukashenka’s inhuman activities should go unpunished.

“We are sending this message to the countries of origin and transit, as well as to the airlines that are being used to shuttle people to Belarus. And the message is being heard, because we as the EU are prepared to take decisive action,” the statement reads.

The top diplomat announced expanding and tighten EU sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.

“We will impose sanctions on all those who are participating in the targeted smuggling of migrants. Lukashenka must be brought to recognise that his strategy will not succeed. This by the way does not exclude extending sanctions to other sectors of the economy as well,” Heiko Maas said.

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