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EU to consider broad sanctions on Belarus


EU to consider broad sanctions on Belarus

Belarus Sanctions
Photo: AFP / Getty

The European Union intends to impose fresh sanctions on Belarus in late-June, with harsher economic measures to follow in the coming months.

These sanctions are a response to the forced landing of Ryanair aircraft FR4978 and the detention of a journalist by Belarus.

Expect sanctions to target Belarusian potash, the country’s main export, which constitutes a significant portion of European fertilizer imports and is a cornerstone of the Belarusian economy. Targeting it is likely to trigger a severe economic slump, putting President Lukashenko’s administration in jeopardy. However, such restrictions may have little impact on what is frequently referred to as the “last Soviet-era economy” due to its dominant state-owned enterprises and Russian support.

More importantly, the sanctions taken by the EU are only meant to punish Lukashenko for specifically hijacking this aircraft and are not supposed to interfere with his dictatorship, and as such, they represent no danger to his government.  At the same time, it is expected that Russia and Belarus will grow closer as a result of the EU’s subsequent response to the incident, given that Moscow is the sole country standing by Belarus after the interception of the flight and the detention of the journalist.

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