On December 16, the Committee of Permanent Representatives of Member States of the EU okayed another round of sanctions against Belarusian authorities.
RFE/RL reporter Rikard Jozwiak said on Twitter that the sanctions would be imposed on 29 persons and 7 entities. Russia’s news agency TASS also announced the EU’s continuing the policy of sanctions against Belarusian officials.
EU ambassadors have now approved new EU sanctions on #Belarus. 29 ppl, 7 entities. To be published tomorrow in the EU official journal
— Rikard Jozwiak (@RikardJozwiak) December 16, 2020
In early October, the European Union leaders agreed to impose sanctions on more than 40 Belarusian officials over the vote rigging and post-election police violence in the country. However, the name of Alyaksandr Lukashenka was not added to the sanctions list at that moment. It included senior police and election officials, e.g. Interior Minister Yury Karayeu, Public Security Police Chief Alyaksandr Barsukou, Dzmitry Balaba, Commander of the Special Purpose Police Unit of Minsk (OMON), Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Valery Vakulchyk, ex-Head of the State Security Committee (KGB), and others.
Then, the Council of the European Union added 15 members of the Belarusian authorities, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, as well as his son and national security adviser Viktar Lukashenka, to the list of individuals sanctioned in relation to the violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists after the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.
In late November, MEPs passed a resolution on ‘the continuous violations of human rights in Belarus, in particular the murder of Raman Bandarenka’. The text was adopted by 613 votes in favour, 41 against and 35 abstentions. In the resolution, MEPs also highlighted that actions taken so far by the EU and the member states against the Lukashenka regime were ‘insufficient’; they welcomed the decision to work on a third package of sanctions aimed at firms and oligarchs with ties to the regime and called for a ‘credible enlargement’ of the EU sanctions list.
Restrictive measures, which apply to a total of 59 individuals at the moment, include a travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.