Representatives of the 27 EU member states have agreed to expand the EU’s list of sanctions against Belarus to 28 people and entities blamed for the Minsk-orchestrated migrant crisis, European sources were quoted as saying by AFP and DPA. According to a source quoted by DPA, on the list of targeted entities would be the Belarusian state airline Belavia, but also Cham Wings from Syria.

This agreement will have to be formally adopted in a European Council of Ministers on Thursday, before the names are published in the EU’s official journal, in order to enter into force, said one source.

The agreement targets 17 officials and 11 entities, according to this source.

These will be added to the EU’s blacklist for Belarus, which already includes 166 names, including President Alexander Lukashenko and two of his sons, as well as 15 regime-related entities. The measures will consist of a freeze on assets and a ban on entering the EU, informs Agerpres.

This list first sanctioned the repression of the opposition opposition movement against the controversial re-election of President Lukashenko in August 2020, then the hijacking of a European flight to arrest dissident and journalist Roman Protasevich in May.

In addition, at the end of June, the EU adopted economic sanctions affecting key sectors such as oil and tobacco. The EU has also banned Belarusian airlines from entering its airspace and landing at its airports.

Following the influx of thousands of exiles to the EU’s borders, mainly from the Middle East, which Minsk is accused of organizing since the summer, the EU has adapted its legal arsenal to target people and companies that have orchestrated the crisis.

Lukashenko’s regime denies it was the instigator of the crisis that killed at least 12 people in the border area, according to Polish media.

At the same time, the EU wants to penalize third-country operators who are complicit in the transport of migrants by restricting their operations in the EU by suspending licenses, overflight or transit bans.

The European Commission, which tabled a bill to that effect, last week estimated the number of migrants stranded in Belarus at 15,000, including 2,000 on the borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Editor : M.L.

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