Entry bans, clampdown on foundations: Belarus FM announces retaliation for EU sanctions

The third package of sanctions imposed on Belarusian officials was ‘carefully studied’. Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said on December, 22.

According to him, the Belarusian side is ready to provide ‘an adequate response’.

“More persons from the EU countries will not be able to enter Belarus and the territory of the Union State, given that the list is valid in the Russian Federation too. We will, of course, take a number of legal actions in response to the totally unjustified inclusion of a number of businesses and persons in the EU list,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes the minister.

Moreover, he announced limiting the activities of a number of political foundations in Belarus and reviewing their humanitarian, educational and cultural programs in the country, including those offered by foreign states’ embassies.

There are at least three more areas where Belarus’ will take ‘sensitive and serious’ measures to respond to the EU sanctions, Uladzimir Makey added without giving any specifics.

On December 17, the Council of the European Union approved the third package of sanctions against the political regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Another 29 individuals and 7 legal entities fell under the restrictions.

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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.

Yet later, 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.

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belsat.eu, following BelTA