Today, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union member states adopted a special statement on the situation in Belarus.

It confirms, on behalf of the European Union, unwavering support for the aspirations of the Belarusian people for a free, democratic, sovereign and independent Belarus, which is part of a peaceful and prosperous Europe.

Commenting on the statement, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,

Joseph Burrell,

said:

"Belarus still occupies an important place in the EU agenda. We condemn the violation of human rights by the Lukashenka regime and the unprecedented level of repression on the eve of the upcoming elections. The guilty will be brought to justice. We stand in solidarity with the Belarusian people and are still determined to mobilize all instruments to support their aspirations for peace and democracy."

In its statement, the Council of Heads of Foreign Affairs of the EU states expresses its deep concern regarding the deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus. It strongly condemns the ongoing campaign of persecution and intimidation against all sections of Belarusian society, the unprecedented level of repression and restrictions on participation in political life, which undermine the potential for ensuring the fairness and legitimacy of the parliamentary and local elections scheduled for February 25, 2024.

The Council also expresses deep concern about the actions of the

Lukashenka

regime , which affect the national identity of Belarus, and confirms its commitment to the support and promotion of the Belarusian language and culture.

In addition, the Council strongly condemns the support that the regime in Belarus continues to provide to Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine, and calls on Belarus to refrain from such actions and fulfill its international obligations.

The EU has introduced targeted sanctions against Lukashenka's regime and is ready to take further restrictive and targeted measures as long as the Belarusian authorities continue their actions.

The statement of the Council also emphasizes the strong support of the Belarusian civil society on the part of the European Union and welcomes the establishment of the European Union Advisory Group with the participation of Belarusian democratic forces and civil society.

The Council reminds of the European Union's commitment to provide 3 billion euros to the future democratic Belarus through the Comprehensive Economic Support Plan.

"The future democratic Belarus has a place in the European family," the statement emphasizes.

Sanctions against Belarus for supporting the Russian war in Ukraine

Alexander Lukashenko admitted that rockets were fired at Ukrainian territory from Belarus. At the same time, Belarusian soldiers were not sent to Ukrainian territory.

In an interview with Svaboda, the US ambassador to Belarus, Julie Fisher, stated that "Lukashenka's regime is an accomplice of Russia's current invasion of Ukraine, as it allowed Russia to launch an attack from Belarusian territory."

On February 26, Canada and the Council of the European Union announced sanctions against Russia and Belarus. 20 Belarusian officials and military personnel were included in the list. 15 legal entities and 8 individuals were included in the US sanctions list.

On February 28, the ambassadors of the European Union imposed visa sanctions on 22 Belarusian high-ranking officials.

Moladachan factory "MabelLine" went idle, because the Swedish company IKEA closed its business in the country. IKEA closely cooperated with a number of other manufacturers and factories, including state ones. Among them is the state-owned "Minsk Furniture Center" from Molodechno, the Mogilev textile manufacturer "Magateks", the Minsk watch factory "Luch" and others.

In March, the European Union banned the export of woodworking products produced in or exported from Belarus. The Ministry of Forestry stated that it was forced to send products from Europe to Asia.

Due to the difficulties of doing business in the region, Booking.com and Airbnb are not operating in the country.

The Danish transport and logistics company Maersk announced the cessation of cargo transportation to Belarus on March 4. When leaving the Belarusian market, other companies with a similar profile — DHL and FedEx — reported.

On March 5, the Finnish company OLVI announced the start of winding down its business in Belarus, where the company owns Lidzkaye Piva. The plant's 840 employees will receive their salaries for the time being, the shutdown of business will be gradual.

On March 6, the Republic of Korea imposed sanctions. They introduced export control measures for Belarus, believing that it "significantly contributes to Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

Japan introduced sanctions on March 8. Assets of individuals and legal entities that have come under the new restrictions are frozen. Deliveries of dual-purpose goods to Belarus and exports to the Ministry of Defense of Belarus and "Integral" are prohibited.

The World Bank stopped all programs in Belarus. The bank noted that it has not approved new loans to Belarus since 2020.

Restrictions affected the sports industry. Belarusian national teams of various ages have been suspended from participating in international tournaments in hockey, handball and basketball. The Belarusian national team was not allowed to participate in the 2022 Paralympic Games.

The rating agency Fitch, taking into account the sanctions, lowered the long-term sovereign credit rating of Belarus to CCC, which means a real possibility of default.

The American financial company American Express has suspended the provision of services in the country. No operations are now possible on her cards.

On March 9, the European Union approved the disconnection of three Belarusian banks from SWIFT. These are Belagroprombank, Dobrabyt Bank and Development Bank.

On April 16, a complete ban on the crossing of the border with the European Union by cargo transport of Belarus and Russia was introduced. In the decision of the European Union, which was published in the official journal, it is said that the European Union, in accordance with the imposed sanctions, prohibits the import and transit of goods by road transport from Belarus and Russia to the territory of the European Union.

On November 22, Canada expanded earlier sanctions. In addition, 22 Belarusian officials were included in the lists, as well as 16 Belarusian companies related to the military industry, engineering, the financial sector and railway transport. Among the sanctioned persons were those responsible for the transportation of Russian soldiers and equipment used for the invasion of Ukraine. Belarusian Alfa-Bank and MTBank were included in the list of companies that came under sanctions. In April 2023, 9 more Belarusian banks were added to the list.

On January 28, 2023, the President of Ukraine implemented the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions against 185 legal entities and individuals that Russia uses to transport personnel and military equipment by rail. The list included "Belaruskaliy", Gomel Chemical Plant, "Belarusian Railway", "Belintertrans", "Cargo Service-West", "Lyakofarba", "Belgazprombank", "PLM-Innovations", "Kronaspan OSB", "Bellesexport", "Trans-Agra Cooperation", "Real-Agent", "Promogroleasing", "ASBLeasing", "Transit-Auto-2003", "Isothermal Logistics", "Omsk-Karbon Mogilev" and others.

On July 20, Australia added high-ranking military personnel of Belarus to the sanctions list.