Another blow against supporters of the Belarusian ruler Lukashenko: the European Union has again agreed to sanctions.
EU states have opted for a sweeping new package of sanctions against supporters of the Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko communicated. The agreement signed in Brussels on Wednesday envisages an EU entry ban on 78 people and a freeze on existing assets in the EU. At least seven entities are also affected, for example government agencies or companies, as the German Press Agency has learned from EU circles.
With punitive measures, the European Union is reacting to the ongoing repression against civil society and democratic protests in the former Soviet republic. Some of those affected are also accused of participating in the illegal and dangerous arrest of blogger Roman Protsevich from an EU perspective, which criticizes the government.
A Ryanair passenger plane flying from Athens to Vilnius was forced to stop in Minsk by Belarusian authorities. Protasevich, who was traveling on the plane, and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega were then arrested.
The agreement reached by the permanent representatives of EU states on sanctions is to be officially ratified by EU foreign ministers on Monday. Then the names of those affected will also be published in the official journal of the European Union. Additional planned economic sanctions against Belarus are still in place. They could affect the country’s potash and oil industries as well as the financial sector.
Since the presidential election on August 9 last year, Belarus has held protests against Lukashenko, who has been in power for nearly 27 years. The trigger were allegations of electoral fraud after Lukashenko was declared the winner with 80.1 percent of the vote. The protests have already resulted in many deaths, hundreds of injuries and thousands of arrests. Human rights activists criticize torture in Belarusian prisons. There have long been punitive actions against Lukashenko himself and dozens of other supporters.
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