EU imposes fresh sanctions on Belarus

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 03, 2021, 12:57 AM(IST)

File photo of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Belarus' state-owned airline Belavia has been accused of bringing migrants as a tactic to destabilise European states

The European Union, in co-ordination with the US and Britain, imposed sanctions on Belarus' state-owned airline Belavia on Thursday. The bloc has accused the company of flying in migrants as a tactic in order to destabilise European states. This is a new round of punitive measures against Belarus.

Reuters reported the planned sanctions on November 10 and they were approved last month. They came into effect on Thursday after publication in the EU's official journal. Britain and Canada also imposed new sanctions on Belarus on Thursday.

EU governments blacklisted 17 individuals and 11 entities, targeting judges and top Belarusian officials. Those sanctions are in the form of asset freezes and travel bans.

The sanctions on Belavia mean EU companies can no longer lease planes to the Belarusian airline, EU officials have said. It was not immediately clear if Belavia would have to return the 17 aircraft leased through aircraft companies in Ireland.

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The decision takes the total number of Belarusian individuals under EU sanctions to 183, along with 26 entities.

The European Union accuses Belarus of flying in migrants, mainly from the Middle East, and pushing them to illegally cross the border with Poland in a "hybrid attack" on the bloc.

Belarus denies fuelling the crisis. Belavia has denied any wrongdoing.

The EU also targeted hotels and travel agents such as Oskartour which have been accused of using their contacts with airlines to help lure in migrants to Belarus.

In the official journal, the EU said President Alexander Lukashenko had agreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin "on planning the opening of new airline routes for Belavia" to bring in migrants.

(With inputs from agencies)

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