Belarus: EU prolongs restrictive measures for a further year

The Council of the EU decided on February 26 to prolong the restrictive measures linked to internal repression in Belarus and the regime’s support for Russia’s war against Ukraine for a further year, until February 28 2025, the Council said in a statement.

The decision was taken on the basis of the annual review of the restrictive measures and in view of the continuing repression and drastically deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus, and the ongoing involvement of the country in Russia’s illegal military aggression against Ukraine, the statement said.

Since August 2020, the EU has imposed several successive rounds of individual and sectoral sanctions, against those responsible for internal repression and human rights abuses in Belarus, and in the context of Belarus’ involvement in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

With these measures, the EU is signalling to the political and economic actors responsible that their actions and support for the regime and to Russia come at a cost, the statement said.

The individual restrictive measures include an asset freeze and prohibition to make funds available. Natural persons are additionally subject to a ban on travel. There are currently 233 individuals, including Alexandr Lukashenka, and 37 entities listed.

Belarus also remains subject to targeted economic sanctions, including restrictions in the financial sector, trade, dual-use goods, technology and telecommunication, energy, transport and others.

In its conclusions of February 19 2024, the Council reaffirmed the validity of the conclusions of October 12 2020, and restated its unwavering support for the Belarusian people’s quest for a free, democratic, sovereign and independent Belarus as part of a peaceful and prosperous Europe, the statement said.

“The Council also expressed its deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, and strongly condemned the continuing persecution against the Belarusian society, the continued support provided by the Belarusian regime to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, calling on Belarus to refrain from such actions and to abide by its international obligations.

“The Council reiterated its commitment to hold those responsible for human rights violations and abuses to account. In line with the EU’s gradual approach, the EU stands ready to take further restrictive and targeted measures as long as the Belarusian authorities continue these actions,” the statement said.

The Sofia Globe staff

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