EU to slap military sanctions on Belarus – Politico

EU countries have informally agreed a new round of military sanctions against Russia’s close ally, Belarus, unnamed European diplomats have told Politico.

The fresh package will put curbs on supplies of battlefield equipment, including aviation parts, to Minsk, the outlet reported on Tuesday.

The list of the restricted items will mirror the sanctions earlier imposed by Brussels on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, according to the sources.

The package is aimed at clamping down on military components that are allegedly being supplied illegally to Russia through Belarus, the diplomats said.

The new sanctions are viewed as a stepping stone toward a broader EU deal to restrict Minsk, they noted.

The sources said the European Commission should send papers detailing the military restrictions to the bloc’s diplomats as soon as Wednesday. EU deputy ambassadors are expected to approve the sanctions against Minsk next week, they added.

The talks on curbs targeting Belarus were linked to the so-called post-Cotonou agreement between the EU and 79 African and Caribbean nations, which had been long stalled due to the stance of Poland. Warsaw has agreed to remove its opposition to the deal in order to make sure Minsk is sanctioned, the diplomats said.

Speaking about Western sanctions last month, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said they had “already turned from an instrument of enforcement of peace and security into a new complex threat on a global scale, condemning entire regions to hunger, cold and poverty.”

Belarus has been placed under harsh restrictions by the US and the EU amid the conflict in Ukraine, despite it not being directly involved in the fighting. Minsk has allowed Russia to use its territory during the military operation, which started in February 2022.

Last fall, Moscow and Minsk set up a joint military force on Belarusian territory, while in June Russia’s President Vladimir Putin confirmed the deployment of the first Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus as part of a deal between the allies. Lukashenko has been saying that those moves were needed to deter aggressive plans by the West against his country and attempts to drag it into the conflict in Ukraine.

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