Fifth sanctions package against Lukashenka regime might be ready in November – EU source

The fifth sanctions package against the Lukashenka regime might be ready in November, Brussels-based RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak said on Twitter on Friday.

Іllustrative photo. Source:

Earlier, there were reports that the fifth package would be completed by the end of October. By now, there has been no official confirmation of the postponement; in his tweet, Mr Jozwiak referred to ‘a senior EU official’. Citing the anonymous source, the journalist also writes that it is highly likely that there will be no representative of Belarus at the upcoming EaP Summit in Brussels.

However, it is no question that new sanctions will be imposed on Belarusian officials. 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’.

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On September 29, the European Commission proposed to suspend certain articles of the EU’s visa facilitation agreement with the Republic of Belarus. Such decision followed the Belarusian regime’s attempts to destabilise the EU and its member states by facilitating irregular migration for political purposes, as well as its decision on 28 June 2021 to suspend the EU–Belarus readmission agreement. Notably, the proposal is targeted to ‘specific categories of officials linked to the regime’ and will not affect ordinary citizens of Belarus.

The previous restrictive measures against the Belarusian 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.

In turn, the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Belarusian parliament, adopted the first reading of the bill ‘On Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus’ in early October. The document seeks to amend Article 361 of the Criminal Code, introducing criminal responsibility for calls for sanctions against Belarusian government officials,

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