EU Council imposes additional sanctions on Belarus

EU Council imposes additional sanctions on Belarus

The EU Council has imposed additional sanctions on Belarus because of the country’s involvement in the invasion of Ukraine.

The Council cited the sanctions the EU imposed on Belarusian military personnel on 24 February in announcing its new measures targeting 22 high-ranking military officials.

The listed officials had a role “in the decision making and strategic planning processes that led to the Belarusian involvement in the Russian aggression against Ukraine”, a Council press release stressed on Wednesday.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated that the Belarus “involvement in the ongoing unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine will come at a high price.” The latest measures, he said, are designed to target those in Belarus “who collaborate in the attacks against Ukraine” and restrict “trade in a number of key sectors.”

According to the Council, Belarus is “allowing Russia to fire ballistic missiles from the Belarusian territory, enabling transportation of Russian military personnel and heavy weapons, tanks, and military transporters, allowing Russian military aircraft to fly over Belarusian airspace into Ukraine, providing refuelling points, and storing Russian weapons and military equipment in Belarus.”

EU sanctions related to the aggression against Ukraine now target 53 entities and 702 individuals. Measures taken include travel bans and asset freezes, the Council declared.

Further restrictions have also been imposed “on exports of dual-use goods and technology, and certain advanced goods and technology which might contribute to Belarus’ military, technological, defence and security development, together with restrictions on the provision of related services.”

The Council indicated that it has placed trade restrictions on mineral fuels, cement and wood products, bituminous substances and gaseous hydrocarbon products, and iron, steel and rubber products. These measures are intended to complement those of late February but additionally apply to “the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility.”

The latest package also includes “a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers of all kinds, a ban on the transactions with the Russian Central Bank, the SWIFT ban for certain Russian banks, and the prohibition for state-owned media Russia Today and Sputnik to broadcast in the EU.”