Belarus blacklists European officials in response to EU visa sanctions
Belarus has adopted its own sanctions list in response to visa sanctions from the European Union, reports the Belarusian state news agency BelTA, citing a statement from the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry noted that in accordance “with established, civilized, diplomatic practice,” the list will not be published.
“Belarus is always against confrontation, in words and in deeds. We are for dialogue and understanding. But as a sovereign state we will also resolutely, although not without regret, respond to unfriendly actions for the natural defense of our national interests,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry warned that a further rollout of the EU “sanctions flywheel” could lead to even more serious consequences, for example, the withdrawal of Belarus from joint programs and projects [and/or] a revision of the level and modality of diplomatic presence right up to a decision on the viability of maintaining diplomatic relations.
The European Union agreed on a sanctions list for Belarus on the evening of October 1. It includes approximately 40 Belarusian officials, who, according to Brussels, are responsible for electoral fraud and human rights violations. The sanctions came into force on October 2.
The European Union refuses to recognize Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus. At the same time, he was not included on the new sanctions list. French President Emmanuel Macron explained that including Lukashenko on the blacklist would have allowed him to disregard the EU’s demand to enter into a dialogue with the opposition and release political prisoners. Previously, both the United Kingdom and Canada have announced personal sanctions against Lukashenko and members of his inner circle.