Tuesday. 29.11.2022
MIGRATION CRISIS

EU sanctions airlines over Belarus border crisis

The EU has now placed penalties on a total of 183 individuals and 26 entities related to Belarus
26 May 2021, Hessen, Frankfurt_Main: An aircraft of the Belarusian airline Belavia lands at Frankfurt Airport. Many European countries have closed their airspace to the airline after Belarusian authorities had forced a Ryanair plane, on its way from Greece to Lithuania, to land in Minsk with a dissident journalist on board. Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa.
Many European countries have closed their airspace to the Belarusian airline Belavia. Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa.

The European Union has targeted Belarusian state airline Belavia and Syria's Cham Wings for their role in the EU-Belarus border crisis in a fifth round of sanctions adopted on Thursday.

Announcing the sanctions, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc "is using all the tools at its disposal to push back against attempts to create a crisis at EU borders."

For weeks, thousands of people seeking a new life in the EU have been stranded at the bloc's external border with Belarus.

The EU has accused Belarusian strongman ruler Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately pushing or transporting migrants from crisis regions to the region in revenge for Western sanctions. Minsk refutes this.

The EU imposed sanctions after Lukashenko led a crackdown on Belarusian civil society following a contested August 2020 election.

Belavia was penalized for "contributing to activities by the Lukashenko regime that facilitate the illegal crossing of the external borders of the Union," the EU said.

As well two Minsk hotels, a state-owned tourist company in Belarus and high-level border officials, the EU also listed the Syrian airline Cham Wings.

Increased flights from Damascus

According to the EU, since the summer of 2021 the Syrian airline has increased its flights from Damascus to Belarus and opened two new offices in Minsk to facilitate the new routes.

State-owned enterprises have also been listed in the sanctions package including a chemical compounds producer and a car tyre manufacturer.

In total, 17 individuals and 11 entities have been included in the fifth package of sanctions on Belarus. The measures immediately enter into legal force.

The EU has now placed penalties on a total of 183 individuals and 26 entities related to Belarus. The restrictions include an assets freeze and EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them. An EU travel ban is also place for any named officials.

Another package of sanctions - the sixth since the contested August 2020 Belarusian election - is also in preparation but will likely only be ready in January or February, one EU diplomat said.

EU sanctions airlines over Belarus border crisis
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