More US sanctions are to be imposed on Belarusian officials in light of the current migration crisis at Belarus-Poland border, Ned Price, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, said at a press briefing on Monday.
“We are deeply concerned by the Lukashenka regime’s inhumane actions, and we strongly condemn their callous exploitation and coercion of vulnerable people and inhumane facilitation of irregular migration flows across its borders,” he said.
According to Price, the US side is preparing follow-up sanctions ‘in close coordination with the EU and other partners and allies that will continue to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable for its ongoing attacks on democracy, on human rights, on international norms’.
The US again calls on the regime to immediately halt its campaign of orchestrating and coercing irregular migrant flows across borders into Europe, he stressed.
“As long as the regime refuses to respect its international obligations and commitments, as long as it undermines peace and security of its neighbors and of the broader continent, as long as it continues to repress its own – repress and abuse its own people and hold political prisoners, we’ll continue to put more pressure, not less pressure, on the Lukashenka regime as we call for accountability,” Ned Price warned.
In his opinion, what is required in the case of Belarus is for the regime to put a cease to some of its practices, including what could well amount to the weaponization of migrant flows into Europe, the repression, the detention of political dissidents, the other behaviors on the part of the Lukashenka regime.
“Moscow has sway over the Lukashenka regime in a way that few if any other countries do. And we would certainly welcome Moscow using its influence, using its sway in a way that is constructive and in a way that is productive when it comes to making clear to the regime that these practices must cease,” he added.
On the same day, the Council of the EU amended its sanctions regime against the Belarusian authorities by broadening the listing criteria on which specific designations can be based. The EU is now able to target individuals and entities organising or contributing to activities by the Lukashenka regime that facilitate illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders.
Last week, amid the ongoing migration crisis at the Belarusian-Polish border, the European Union was reported to be close to imposing more sanctions on Belarus, targeting some 30 individuals and entities including its foreign minister Uladzimir Makey and Belarus’ national air carrier Belavia. In the course of her recent meeting with US leader Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU would ‘widen sanctions against Belarus very rapidly at the beginning of next week’.