Thursday, May 23

Belarus

US Imposes Biggest Sanctions Ever on Belarus
Belarus, News, US

US Imposes Biggest Sanctions Ever on Belarus

The United States announces new sanctions against Belarusian officials, companies and entities. In doing so, they increase the pressure on the authoritarian regime of President Alexander Lukashenko.   The sanctions are a result of the "continuous offensive against the democratic aspirations and rights of the Belarusian people", as well as the "violations of international rules" and the "corruption" of the regime. US President Joe Biden will sign a decree a year after the election of Belarusian President Lukashenko, whom he considers "fraudulent". That decree tightens the US sanctions regime, in place since 2006, by extending it to several key sectors of the Belarusian economy. The US announcement follows the Belarus president's annual press conference, who again claimed his victory...
EU Punishes Belarus Air Force and Air Traffic Control Leaders
Belarus, Europe, News

EU Punishes Belarus Air Force and Air Traffic Control Leaders

The European Union is imposing punitive measures on seven senior Belarusian politicians, military personnel and top officials for their part in forcing a passing plane with a dissident on board to land.   Another 71 other regime leaders are being punished for crushing opposition in the country. There are also sanctions for eight state-owned companies. As the EU calls it, measures against those involved in the "hijacking" of the Ryanair plane with the dissident journalist Roman Protasevich had already been announced. They received the blessing of EU foreign ministers on Monday. The 78 Belarussians who have been sentenced are no longer allowed to enter the EU and can no longer access any assets deposited in the union. The sanctions list for Belarus now includes 166 individuals and 1...
EU Wants an International Investigation into Belarus Arrest
Belarus, Europe, News

EU Wants an International Investigation into Belarus Arrest

The European Union has entitled to an international investigation into the emergency landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk, where an opponent of the Belarusian government was arrested.   "By this coercive measure, the Belarusian authorities have endangered the safety of passengers and crew. An international investigation into this incident should be conducted," said Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief. EU leaders will discuss additional sanctions against Belarus at a summit starting Monday evening in Brussels. On Sunday, Belarus forcibly grounded a plane carrying a vital opposition leader in Minsk. Journalist Roman Protasevich, who was on board the aircraft, was in exile and faced the death penalty in Belarus. Local media reported that Belarusian authorities forced the plane to l...
Belarusian Opposition Leader Wins Sakharov Prize
Belarus, Europe, News

Belarusian Opposition Leader Wins Sakharov Prize

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought this year will go to the so-called Opposition Coordination Council in Belarus.   The "initiative of courageous women," including opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Nobel laureate Svetlana Aleksijevich, must "remain strong and continue" the fight against President Alexander Lukashenko's regime, according to European Parliament President David Sassoli. In Brussels. Sassoli commended the ten members of the council who were awarded the prize for their "courage and determination every day". "Know that we are by your side". He said he hoped to receive the winners for the awards ceremony soon. It is on the agenda for the parliament session in December. The other finalists were Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, murdered in 2016 and Archbi...
European Sanctions on Belarus Finally Come into Effect
Belarus, Europe, News

European Sanctions on Belarus Finally Come into Effect

European sanctions against individuals in and around the regime of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko are in effect six weeks after the EU announced it would impose punitive measures following the country's 'stolen' elections in early August.   It concerns 44 persons, according to the list in the Official Journal of the European Union. President Aleksandr Lukashenko is not on it. The sanctions consist of the freezing of European assets, travel and trade bans. Because Cyprus suddenly used its veto also to demand EU sanctions against Turkey for illegal gas drilling near the island, the issue remained on the shelf. But after hours of negotiation, the country was still tackling the night from Thursday to Friday. EU leaders also agreed to the proposal of Belarusian neighbours, ...
Macron Meets Belarusian Opposition Leader in Lithuania
Belarus, France, News

Macron Meets Belarusian Opposition Leader in Lithuania

French President Emmanuel Macron met on Tuesday in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja. Macron's office announced that on Monday. Tichanovskaya earlier in the day asked Macron to mediate in the conflict in Belarus. She hopes that Macron can start a dialogue together with Russian President Vladimir Putin to find a solution. In Belarus, demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko have been going on for weeks. He was re-elected by a large majority in recent elections, but many Belarusians and foreign leaders doubt this result and do not recognize him as president. Macron said on Sunday that Lukashenko must resign. The French president will visit Lithuania and Latvia, neighbouring countries of Belarus, in the coming days. H...
EU Parliament Wants Lukashenko on the Sanctions List
Belarus, Europe, News

EU Parliament Wants Lukashenko on the Sanctions List

The European Parliament wants member states to impose sanctions against Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.   In a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority in Brussels, the parliament called for immediate sanctions against those responsible for the electoral fraud in the country in early August and the violent response of the authorities to subsequent protests, including Lukashenko. Member States pledged to draw up a sanction list against "high political level" allies of the regime in Belarus at the end of August without revealing whether Lukashenko would be there. EU foreign chief Josep Borrell then said after a meeting of the foreign ministers in Berlin that he was speeding up on the sanctions list, but it is still not there. According to insiders, Cyprus is blockin...
President Vladimir Putin Has Pledged Belarus A $ 1.5 Billion Loan
Belarus, News, Russia

President Vladimir Putin Has Pledged Belarus A $ 1.5 Billion Loan

President Vladimir Putin has pledged Belarus a $ 1.5 billion loan. He said Monday during talks with controversial Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko in the Russian resort of Sochi.   Putin went on to say that the Belarusian people must resolve the current crisis without foreign interference. Putin finds a proposal by Lukashenko to implement constitutional reforms "logical and timely," he said in comments on television. Such a reform allows for early elections. The Belarusian leader told Putin that recent events in Belarus show that Minsk must stay close to Russia. Lukashenko thanked Putin for his help after the controversial presidential election. Putin assured him that Russia remains the largest investor in Belarus. He urged Lukashenko to make more efforts to improve trade b...
President Alexandr Lukashenko Announces Reforms
Belarus, Europe, News

President Alexandr Lukashenko Announces Reforms

Pressured by the ongoing mass protests in Belarus, controversial President Alexandr Lukashenko, after 26 years in power, has promised the population the first time reforms.   The demand to do something about the authoritarian system in the former Soviet Republic is getting louder. "Everyone is calling for change, change. That is why we are going to discuss that in detail," said Lukashenko on Monday. In concrete terms, it concerns an amendment to the constitution that must be widely supported in society. State media in Minsk headlined in their quick coverage: "Lukashenko in favour of reforms." The situation in Minsk remained tense at the beginning of the week after tens of thousands of people demanded the resignation of the 66-year-old ruler on Sunday. Opposition politician Maria...
Poland and Lithuania Come to the Aid of Residents of Belarus
Belarus, Europe, Lithuania, News, Poland

Poland and Lithuania Come to the Aid of Residents of Belarus

Poland and Lithuania have announced that they want to help residents of neighbouring Belarus.   There have been demonstrations there for almost a week against the controversial election victory of President Alexander Lukashenko. Lithuania has offered to treat Belarusians injured during demonstrations. Security forces are cracking down on protesters and have arrested thousands of people. Poland is making 11 million euros available, among other things to support Belarusians who want to come to Poland. The money is also intended to support independent media and other organizations. The Polish government is also offering students from the neighbouring country the prospect of scholarships. "We have opened our hearts to Belarus. Now we also want to open our borders and universities," ...