Protests against Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko have been going on for months. The EU wants to increase pressure with new sanctions. For the first time, companies are also affected.
The EU has imposed further sanctions on supporters of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. After a decision published Thursday, business people and companies are also affected for the first time. For example, Dana, one of the country’s leading real estate development and construction companies, was placed on the sanction list. Owners of Dana Holdings and Dana Astra have close ties with Lukashenko, according to the EU.
For the companies involved, the sanction decision means that they are no longer allowed to do business in the EU. Existing assets in the EU are frozen. In addition to freezing assets, EU entry bans also apply to individuals. A total of 29 people and seven organizations are affected by the new decision.
Protests against Lukashenko for months
Since the August 9 presidential elections, there have been protests and strikes in the former Soviet Republic against the authoritarian head of state, who has been in power for 26 years. Triggers are allegations of falsifying the elections, after which Lukashenko was declared the winner with 80.1 percent of the vote. Security forces often use violence against protesters. The protests have already resulted in several deaths, hundreds of injuries and thousands of arrests.
In the first two rounds of sanctions, the EU has already denied 55 people access to the country in recent weeks and has allowed assets to be frozen; Lukashenko himself is one of those affected.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said in November that punitive measures against the “power clique around Lukashenko” were an appropriate means of increasing the pressure. So far, the authorities in Belarus have shown no willingness to engage in the necessary dialogue with the opposition. Josep Borrell, head of the EU’s foreign policy, said the plans were a response to the brutal actions of the authorities and should respect the democratic rights of citizens.