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Migration crisis: EU to hit Belarus with new sanctions, Lukashenko threatens with cutting off gas transit

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

There are thousands of illegal migrants from the Middle East on the border between Poland and Belarus. They got to the border from Minsk, accompanied by the Belarusian military, and have been trying to break into the European Union for four days. The situation at the border is heating up
11:07, 13 November 2021

 AFP 

Poland and the EU leadership accused Alexander Lukashenko's regime of using people as human shields to destabilize the situation. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council will meet today, and the European Union is threatening with new sanctions. There is talk of sanctions against high-ranking officials and airlines that bring illegal immigrants to the capital of Belarus en masse.

Read more about what exactly the continuation of the crisis threatens Belarus and how Lukashenko promised to answer.

Related: Number of migrants next to Polish border exceeds 1,000

EU sanctions

The EU has accused Belarus of organizing a "hybrid attack", prompting thousands of people to try to infiltrate Poland. In a statement, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, argued that the country's leadership attracted migrants with false promises of easy entry into the EU and is now holding them hostage at the border.

She announced that the EU was preparing a package of new sanctions and warned that the European Union "very soon, early next week" will expand sanctions against:

  • Belarusian leadership;
  • will introduce new penalties that will affect responsible persons and organizations.

The ambassadors of the 27 EU countries in Brussels have agreed on the criteria for a new package of sanctions against Belarus, writes AFP, citing sources in diplomatic circles. They are supposed to include measures against 30 airlines, travel agencies, and officials who support the Belarusian regime in the smuggling of migrants.

Reuters clarifies that the list included the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei, who defended the reputation of Belarus at the UN General Assembly in September. His ministry is accused of issuing Belarusian visas to citizens of non-EU countries.

Related: Finnish border guards detain illegal migrants from Belarus

According to Politico, as a legal basis for the imposition of sanctions, the EU plans to add a new category: "Human trafficking".

Airlines

Poland wants the EU to block flights that bring migrants to Belarus. It will not be easy, but the EU is considering measures against the Belarusian state airline Belavia and private charters. Thus, Bloomberg, citing an anonymous European official, reports that the EU may impose sanctions against Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines.

While the possibility of imposing sanctions against some airlines as part of a new package of measures in response to the migration crisis is being discussed, Aeroflot rejects suspicions of the mass transportation of migrants to Belarus. According to the source, sanctions may be announced in early December, together with the United States and Britain.

Related: Ukrainian side not to shoot to kill if illegal migrants break through border, - National Security Secretary

Politico reported that Russian airlines UTair and Nordwind Airlines, as well as the UAE FlyDubai, also operate flights to Belarus. But the final list of airlines that will be affected by the sanctions has not yet been formed.

Lukashenko is preparing a new revenge

Alexander Lukashenko asked the Russian Federation to include strategic aviation on duty at the border of Belarus with the EU. The RF Ministry of Defense reported yesterday that it had already sent two of its long-range Tu-22M3 missile-carrying bomber to "patrol" the airspace of Belarus.

“We must constantly monitor the situation at the border. Let them squeak and shout. Yes, these are bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. But we have no other choice. We must see what they are doing outside the borders,” Lukashenko said.

Also, the Belarusian president promised to respond to the European Union if the borders with Belarus are closed. In particular, he threatened to cut off the blue fuel through the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.

Related: Poland blames Belarus for waging war of new kind, calls migrants "weapons of this war"

And if we close the transit through Belarus? It won’t go through Ukraine: the Russian border is closed there. There are no roads through the Baltic states. If we close it for the Poles and, for example, for the Germans, what will happen then? ... we are still threatened that the border will be closed! And if we cut off natural gas there? Therefore, I would recommend that the Polish leadership, Lithuanians and other headless people think before speaking,” Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko noted that a transnational main export gas pipeline runs through Belarus, and recently the volume of gas transit from Russia to the West has significantly increased.

 

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