EU toughens Belarus sanctions to curb Russia’s evasion of penalties

EU countries on Wednesday agreed new sanctions on Belarus over the Ukraine war to align them more closely with measures targeting Russia, in a bid to curb evasion of the penalties, officials said.

“EU Ambassadors agreed in principle on a new package of sanctions targeting Belarus,” announced Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2024.

To remind, Belgium holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 January to 30 June 2024.

“This package will strengthen our measures in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including combating circumvention of sanctions,” it said.

Belgium chaired the talks as current holder of the rotating EU presidency.

The European Union has gone after the government of Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, the Kremlin’s closest ally.

“Belarus must no longer serve as a route to circumvent our sanctions against Russia. With this package we increase the pressure on both countries and make our sanctions against Russia even more effective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on X.

The new sanctions must now be finalized, whilst further details about the new measures will then be made public.

During the official talks in Minsk on May 24 the leaders of Belarus and Russia shared opinions on the most urgent issues on the international agenda which have an impact on the state of affairs in the economy, sustainable development of the countries.

In the official negotiations, the Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin remarked that a lot had been done in matters concerning transport and logistics but more serious investments are needed.

The head of state, Aleksandr Lukashenko, noted that smooth work of the manufacturing sector and the cost of end products depend on energy industry.

“It is necessary to finally agree the terms of shipping oil and natural gas to the Republic of Belarus. We have been discussing it for years. Today Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] made the relevant decision. I think the governments will polish these agreements along these guidelines within the next few days. We have discussed all the details,” the President noted.