EU foreign ministers have agreed to impose the toughest social sanctions against Belarus so far. The DPA says the package includes sanctions against sectors that provide revenue to the government of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The agreement was reached at a meeting in Luxembourg, after several weeks of difficult negotiations to allow economic companies.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Aceleborn said sanctions would affect seven profitable sectors, including tobacco, oil, finance and potassium carbonate exports. “I think these sanctions will hurt and I hope they will cause enough injury to bring the regime to its knees,” he told reporters before the meeting.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Moss said the measures would help “filter” the regime’s funds.
These are the latest EU actions in response to the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk and the arrest of Belarusian dissident blogger Roman Protashevich last month.
The new sanctions against Belarus affect 78 people and 8 law firms.
Polish Foreign Minister Zibiknev Rao said that “they are responsible for human rights abuses in Belarus – members of the presidential administration, interior ministry staff, lawyers and judges”, as well as companies and managers, especially those associated with the Lukashenko regime or benefiting from the regime’s cooperation. “The list of allowed persons includes the Belarusian Minister of Defense, the head of the commission of inquiry, key businessmen, law enforcement officials and Lukashenko’s family members.