EU continues to impose sanctions on Belarus

The European Union remains adamant in witnessing Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko who “encourages” “desperate” migrants to flee to the European Union.

European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Tuesday that Lukashenko “is not a ready partner to work with us,” and that the 27-member bloc cannot accept his actions.

“There is a significant difference from what we saw from President Lukashenko in Belarus and with the cooperation we have to establish with Turkey. In Belarus, we see Lukashenko as a desperate figure who is now subject to EU sanctions, and can’t really deal with that so he acts in desperation, pushing his citizens to the EU – and of course we can’t accept that. . And Lukashenko is not a ready partner to work with us. That’s why we sanctioned him and it’s important that we continue to be firm with him.”

Polish police guard the border at Usnarz Gorny, to prevent migrants from crossing the border from Belarus (photo: doc).

Polish police guard the border at Usnarz Gorny, to prevent migrants from crossing the border from Belarus (photo: doc).

Speaking in Nicosia following a meeting with Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, Johansson also spoke about cooperation with Turkey, saying cooperation was not always easy but “it’s the only way to move forward.”

He added that he would visit Turkey in the next two weeks, hoping to find common ground to prevent “irregular (migrant) arrivals” from Turkey to Cyprus and Italy. Johansson also said it was important “to prevent irregular (migrant) arrivals into Turkey.”

Poland and Lithuania, which are members of the European Union, have received migrants from the Middle East and Africa, and refugees from Belarus, whose numbers have steadily increased in recent months. The influx of migrants began after Western countries imposed sanctions on Lukashenko’s government over a disputed presidential election in August 2020 and a crackdown on opposition groups.

The governments of Poland and Lithuania have declared a state of emergency on a one-kilometer-wide strip along their border with Belarus,

which prohibits anyone from entering except the border guards, military and security services. The two countries are also building a barbed wire fence along their border with Belarus. At least five migrants died trying to invade Poland and Lithuania from Belarus through dense forests and swamps. [em/jm]

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