The Council of the EU decided on March 2 to impose targeted restrictive measures on 22 high-ranking members of Belarusian military personnel in view of their role in the decision making and strategic planning processes that led to the Belarusian involvement in the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the council said in a statement.
On February 24, twenty members of Belarusian military personnel were already listed in the same context.
“Belarus is supporting the Russian military aggression against Ukraine – inter alia – by allowing Russia to fire ballistic missiles from the Belarusian territory, enabling transportation of Russian military personnel and heavy weapons, tanks, and military transporters, allowing Russian military aircraft to fly over Belarusian airspace into Ukraine, providing refuelling points, and storing Russian weapons and military equipment in Belarus,” the Council of the EU said.
Restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, which now apply to a total of 702 individuals and 53 entities, include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities.
In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.
Furthermore, in relation to Belarus, the Council introduced on March 2 further restrictions in the trade of goods used for the production or manufacturing of tobacco products, mineral fuels, bituminous substances and gaseous hydrocarbon products, potassium chloride (“potash”) products, wood products, cement products, iron and steel products and rubber products.
Further restrictions were also imposed on exports of dual-use goods and technology, and certain advanced goods and technology which might contribute to Belarus’ military, technological, defence and security development, together with restrictions on the provision of related services.
The Council of the EU said that the March 2 decisions complement the package of measures announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell after the video conference of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers on February 27.
This package also includes the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility, a ban on the overflight of EU air space and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers of all kinds, a ban on the transactions with the Russian Central Bank, the SWIFT ban for certain Russian banks, and the prohibition for state-owned media Russia Today and Sputnik’ to broadcast in the EU.
Nato said on March 2 that units of the Nato Response Force had arrived in Romania on February 28 and March 1 to reinforce Nato’s defensive posture in the eastern part of the Alliance.
Five hundred French troops assembled in Istres in southern France before deploying to Romania.
This is the first time Nato has activated the Nato Response Force for collective defence and deterrence, the statement said.
It follows Nato’s activation of its defence response plans amid the biggest security crisis in Europe in decades, triggered by Russia’s massive military build-up and its invasion of Ukraine.
France leads this year’s highest-readiness element of the Nato Response Force, a multinational force comprised of up to 40 000 land, air, maritime and special operations personnel that Nato can deploy at short notice as needed.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the deployment: “Over the last weeks, we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance and now, we are for the first time in our history deploying the Nato Response Force.
“French troops have arrived in Romania as the lead element of this force. Our commitment to Article 5, our collective defence clause, is iron-clad. We will protect and defend every inch of Nato territory,” Stoltenberg said.
For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, please click here.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)
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