EU imposes 3rd round of sanctions against Belarus over repression

Dozens of people were arrested in Belarus as protesters gathered in the capital city of Minsk to protest the country's so-called "social parasite" tax, which taxes unemployed citizens and part time workers about $250. Photo by Tatyana Zenkovich/EPA

Dec. 18 (UPI) — The European Union on Thursday imposed further sanctions against Belarusian authorities and companies, accusing them of participating in the ongoing violent repression of demonstrators, opposition politicians and journalists by the government.

“This decision aims to send a powerful message to the responsible political and economic actors that their support to the regime comes at a cost,” the EU said in a statement.

A total of 29 people and seven companies were targeted with travel bans and asset freezes with the sanctions on Thursday that prohibit those blacklisted from entering or transiting through EU territories. EU citizens are also prohibited from doing business with those named.

The sanctions are in relation to the repressive actions the government of Aleksander Lukashenko has employed against the Belarusian people protesting the results of August’s presidential election, which many countries, including Britain, the Untied States and those of the European bloc, have not accepted deeming them to have been neither free nor fair.

The European Parliament has accused the Lukashenko regime of having responded to the protests with “an unprecedented level of violence and repression.”

In October, the European Parliament announced the Sakharov Prize for human rights would be awarded to Belarus’ democratic opposition.

That same month, the EU announced its first round of sanctions against 40 Belarusians in condemnation of the violence.

The second set of sanctions targeting Lukashenko and 14 other officials was imposed early last month.

In total, 88 individuals and seven entities have been designated.

Among those sanctioned Thursday include the Deputy Prime Minister Anatol Aliaksandravich Sivak, Minister of Information Ihar Uladzimiravich and Prosecutor General Andrei Ivanavich.

“The purpose of these sanctions is to put pressure on the Belarusian political leadership to prevent further violence and repression, to release all political prisoners and other unjustly detained people and to initiate a genuine and inclusive national dialogue with broader society,” the EU said. “The EU stands ready to support a peaceful democratic transition.


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