The EU on Thursday (3 August) banned drone sales to Belarus and added prominent state TV presenters to its sanctions list over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Minsk’s crackdown on opposition.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is the closest ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and has allowed his country to be used as a staging post for Moscow’s assault on Ukraine.
The EU has already imposed repeated rounds of sanctions on Minsk over Lukashenko’s brutal repression of the opposition since 2020 and the war in Ukraine.
Those include blacklisting the Belarusian leader and his family members.
The latest measures target a further 38 regime figures and three state-owned entities, including leading “propagandists” on state television, prosecutors and prison officials.
In a bid to curb the flow of goods to Russia that could be used on the battlefield in Ukraine, the EU banned the export of aircraft engines and drones to Belarus.
In addition the 27-nation bloc tightened restrictions on the sale of semiconductors, camera equipment and other technology that could help Moscow’s war effort.
“Today we are also taking further measures against the Belarusian regime as an accomplice in Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
EU states have been arguing over bolstering sanctions on Belarus since the start of the year to align the measures with those imposed on Russia.
That move has been held up by a disagreement over calls by some countries to remove fertiliser producers from the blacklist amid worries over global food supplies.
Officials complain that the failure to tighten sanctions on Belarus leaves a major loophole in the EU’s measures against Moscow, as sanctioned goods can be diverted to Russia from its neighbour.
The European Commission said the more sweeping measures remain on the table and are still under discussion.
Source : Euractiv