EU set to expand Belarus sanctions list amid borders row

EU set to expand Belarus sanctions list amid borders row

European Union foreign ministers are expected to expand sanctions against Belarus to include airlines, travel agents and individuals alleged to be helping to lure migrants to Europe as part of a “hybrid attack” on the bloc by president Alexander Lukashenko.

he 27-country EU has already slapped a series of sanctions on Mr Lukashenko and senior Belarus officials over what the bloc says were fraudulent elections last August that illegitimately returned him to power, as well as the security crackdown on the opposition and peaceful protesters that followed.

The ministers are set to adjust the kinds of sanctions that can be imposed to include airlines and travel agents allegedly involved in the migrant stand-off at Belarus’s borders with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.


Migrant carry firewood as they gather at the Belarus-Poland border (BelTA pool photo via AP)

Those to be hit by the measures, which involve asset freezes and travel bans, should be named in coming days.

The EU says that the authoritarian Belarusian regime has for months invited migrants to Minsk, many of them Iraqis, with the promise of helping them cross the borders into the three countries, which form the eastern flank of both the 27-nation EU and Nato.

In response, the three have been reinforcing their borders.

In an interview, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he and his two Baltic counterparts are discussing whether to call for emergency consultations at the Nato military alliance.

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