EU to broaden sanctions against Belarus amid migrant crisis
The European Union (EU) plans to broaden sanctions against Belarus amid the migrant crisis along the country’s border with Poland, Reuters reported.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a French newspaper that the sanctions may target executives at Belarus’s airlines and travel agencies as well as some 30 government officials believed to be involved in the crisis.
“We will give the green light to extending the legal framework of our sanctions against Belarus so that it can be applied to everyone who participates in smuggling migrants to this country,” Borrell said, according to Reuters.
The EU has accused Belarus of encouraging migrants to come to its country, then sending them into Poland and other neighboring union countries.
Two diplomats told Reuters the new sanctions may also target the country’s main airport to make it harder to fly in migrants.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has threatened retaliation against the new EU measures, including shutting off the transit of natural gas from his country in Europe.
Responding to the threats, a European Commission spokesperson said “we are saying very clearly is that we are not going to allow ourselves to be intimidated.”
Russia has been accused of aiding Lukashenko in fomenting the migrant crisis, but the Kremlin said on Friday that it was not consulted about his threat to cut off natural gas to the bloc.