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 15 organizations and companies. The EU wants to hit the companies because this is how the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko earns its money.
Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag and her colleagues also agreed on economic sanctions on Monday, which should hit Lukashenko’s income even harder. “They are still being worked out, always remembering the population that they are not going to pay the price for the choices the regime makes.” Some Dutch companies and citizens could also feel these sanctions, Kaag acknowledges.
At the same time as Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada also introduced measures against Minsk, as before. Washington is targeting sixteen individuals and five organizations or companies. The bodies that have been blacklisted include the country’s State Security Committee and the main branch of the Ministry of the Interior dealing with organized crime and corruption.