The EU urges not to forget Belarus because the group prepares sanctions

BRUSSELS-On Wednesday, Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Zihanusskaya called on the European Union not to forget the plight of ordinary citizens and political prisoners in the former Soviet Union.

Qihanusskaya’s request comes as the European Union is preparing to implement new sanctions in response to the border security crisis blamed on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Qihanusskaya told EU lawmakers, “My 882 compatriots have been in jail for exercising their basic political rights. People in other parts of Europe take it for granted.” She urged the G27 not to recognize Lukashenko or him. Government and increase support for ordinary citizens.

“It’s getting late. Since August 2020, there have been many gestures and expressions of solidarity. Belarusians have been praised for rekindling their faith in democracy and human dignity,” she said. “Isn’t it the Europeans’ turn to prove their commitment to these values ​​with actions?”

Her remarks come as the European Union is preparing to announce a series of new sanctions against Belarus-this is the fifth travel ban and assets against Lukashenko and his associates, government members, security forces, court officials and other authorities. Freeze measures.

However, according to a draft text seen this time, these measures will also crack down on airlines and tour groups accused by the European Union of helping bring immigrants to Belarus, with the aim of helping them enter Europe, mainly through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. . Associated Press reports.

The European Union stated that Lukashenko is using immigration to carry out “mixed attacks” to destabilize the European Union in retaliation for sanctions against him in a controversial election last year, which gave Belarus’s hardline leader a sixth term. And the subsequent security suppression of peaceful protesters.

With this in mind, the European Union’s goal is Belavia, a Belarusian airline.

The document stated: “Immigrants who wish to cross the EU’s external borders have been flying Belavia-operated flights from some Middle Eastern countries, especially Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates (United Arab Emirates) and Turkey to Minsk.”

Cham Wing Airlines, which operates flights from Syria to Belarus, is also within sight of the European Union. It is accused of increasing flights from Damascus to Minsk in the summer and establishing a new office in the Belarusian capital to better organize shuttles.

Also on the list is the national tourism company Tsentrkurort, which the European Union claims has helped at least 51 Iraqis obtain visas to Belarus and arranged bus transportation to the border for them.

Hotel Minsk and Hotel Planeta are associated with the Belarusian Presidential Property Administration and are accused of hosting immigrants who intend to reach the border.

The EU will also target VIP Grub, a passport and visa service based in Istanbul, Turkey. The draft sanctions list stated that the company “organized travel to Belarus with a clear intention to promote immigration to the European Union. VIP Grub actively promotes immigration to the European Union.”

The sanctions will be approved in the next few days.

“Sanctions are indeed effective,” Qihanusskaya said. “Sanctions split the elite, destroyed the corrupt plan, and split the people around Lukashenko.” She urged the EU not to “further invest in the mafia regime. Send a message that we will not enrich it so that it can be used These resources come to abuse its citizens.”

At the same time, Ukraine carried out a special operation at its border with Belarus to strengthen security and prevent the entry of migrants. Hundreds of people, mainly from the Middle East, were still trapped in Belarus on the Polish border, and were trapped during the confrontation between the two armies.

Ukrainian authorities said on Friday that they had intercepted 15 Middle Easterners trying to enter from Belarus. This was the first such incident at the Ukrainian border since the security crisis broke out on the EU border.

Ukraine and Belarus share a border of 1,084 kilometers (678 miles). Ukrainian Interior Minister Denis Monastirsky announced plans to build fences on the borders with Belarus and Russia after the incident.

Russia firmly supported its ally Belarus in the recent crisis and urged the EU to negotiate a solution through direct negotiations with the Lukashenko government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated this message in a call with European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday, noting that the EU’s plan to impose a new round of sanctions on Belarus “backfired”.

The Kremlin said in a phone call that Putin pointed out that the Polish army used water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades, and expressed the hope that Michel would persuade Warsaw to stop using violence against immigrants and avoid possible escalation.

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Frank Jordans of Berlin, Yuras Karmanau of Kiev, Ukraine, and Vladimir Isachenkov of Moscow contributed to this report.

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