| 26 February 2024, Monday |

EU bans export of machinery to Belarus in new sanctions over Ukraine invasion

The European Union has adopted further penalties against Belarus for its participation in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including a restriction on shipping machinery to Minsk, the EU announced on Wednesday.

The new restrictions, which have yet to be publicized and, for the time being, exclude Belarusian banks, come after Minsk permitted Russian forces to enter Ukraine from its territory.

According to the French EU Presidency, the measures would include additional economic sanctions and a new list of Belarusian politicians and soldiers participating in the assault against Ukraine.

They will affect “certain economic sectors, including lumber, steel, and potash,” according to a statement.

An EU official told Reuters that sanctions would include an import ban on several commodities, including mineral fuels, a ban on the export of EU machinery to Belarus, and other export control measures.

Unlike Russian lenders, Belarusian banks have not been excluded yet from the SWIFT international payments system, the official said, adding that “will come”.

The fresh measures come on top of those already imposed by the EU after President Alexander Lukashenko crushed protests following elections in August 2020.

Lukashenko himself is already subject to EU sanctions.

The latest measures “will be published in the Official Journal of the EU for entry into force,” the presidency said in its statement, without indicating the exact timing of the publication.

Some of the sanctions are expected to close loopholes of existing restrictive measures, in particular on Belarus’ sale of potash, a fertilizer made of potassium and a key export.

The EU is already banning Belarus’ exports of potash, but diplomats said Minsk has been able to export potash to the EU via third countries.

The new sanctions will make that impossible, the official said.

  • Reuters