The European Union tightening sanctions against Belarus

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The European Union announced Thursday the tightening of its sanctions against Belarus because of its support for Moscow in its war in Ukraine, expanding its blacklist with restrictions on exports, especially drone technology.

The European Commission stated that these new sanctions, approved unanimously by the 27 countries, aim to ensure that sanctions against Russia aren’t circumvented through Belarus by targeting highly sensitive goods and technologies.

Thus, it strengthened the ban on exports of firearms and ammunition to this country, as well as components and technology that could be destined for aviation and the space industry, including the manufacture of drones.

In these areas, the European Union seeks to harmonize the sanctions imposed on Belarus with the European sanctions regime against Russia.

On the other hand, the EU will also restrict exports to Belarus of dual-use (civilian and military) goods and technologies as well as components that Russia uses to wage its war: semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits, manufacturing and testing equipment, and optical components.

However, these new sanctions remain without the recommendations of European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, whose proposals are still on the table in order to tighten them later on, as confirmed by the Commission.

Thirty-eight people have been blacklisted by the European Union and considered responsible for serious human rights violations after they contributed to the suppression of civil society and democratic forces or benefited from the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Among them, in particular, are judges, propagandists, government media employees, as well as prison officials who face accusations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, especially political prisoners.

Inclusion in this regulation shall result in the freezing of assets and the imposition of a ban on entry into the territory of the Union.

Three Belarusian state owned companies, which are an electrical equipment producer, a mining group, and a petrochemical group, were also targeted, accused in particular of suppressing their employees who participated in demonstrations and strikes against the Belarusian regime.

The 27 countries tightened their sanctions against the Belarusian regime after the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022, accusing Belarus of allowing Russia to use its lands, especially in front of its forces heading towards Kiev.

Belarus was under sanctions for suppressing dissent against President Alexander Lukashenko after his controversial re-election in 2020, for the hijacking of a European airliner in June 2021, and for regulating the flow of migrants from the Middle East to EU borders.

In total, EU sanctions against Belarus now target 233 people and 37 entities.

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