Liimets: New EU sanctions on Belarus should take effect at end of November

Eva-Maria Liimets.
Eva-Maria Liimets. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The European Union's fifth package of sanctions on Belarus is expected to enter into force at the end of November, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said on Monday.

"Currently, the goal is to introduce these sanctions by the end of the month," said Liimets. 

She said the sanctions will be coordinated with other like-minded countries such as the United States, which is planning to introduce new sanctions at the start of December.

Liimets said the list of sanctions is still being agreed upon among EU member states and has not yet been announced due to legal formalities.

"The legal entities of the European Union are finalizing it to ensure that these sanctions are legally correct," she said, adding this is to ensure they cannot be overturned by a court in the future.

Liimets would not confirm if Belarus' airline company Belavia or companies cooperating with it had been added to the sanctions list.

"It is unfortunately not possible to say this until the list of sanctions has been finalized and made public," she said. Last week, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said it was rumored the airline would be taken off the list.

Belavia plane. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Liimets said it is very important for Estonia that new sanctions are imposed quickly and she promised to raise the issue in a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday.

Last Monday the meeting of European Union foreign ministers agreed to implement new sanctions on Belarus which would affect people and entities which "facilitate the illegal crossing of the EU's external borders".

Since June, thousands of migrants - mostly from the middle east - have tried to cross Belarus' western border with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

The move has been dubbed a "hybrid attack" by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko against the European Union by EU leaders and is viewed as a punishment for supporting the Belarusian opposition.

The EU imposed sanctions on Belarus after the country's brutal crackdown on opposition protesters and civil society after presidential elections widely regarded as rigged in August 2020. More followed after the forced landing of a Ryanair flight traveling between Greece and Lithuania in May.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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