Tag Archives: Belarus

Russia-Ukraine talks started in Gomel

Brussels 28.02.2022 Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials began on the Belarusian border, Moscow said, while diplomatic and economic estrangement between Russian and the West deepens after four days of ongoing Russian assault in Ukraine.

Russian army overtook a number of cities in southeastern and the area around a notorious nuclear plant Chernobyl, the Interfax news agency wrote.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine are to be held in the Gomel region of Belarus.

As the site KP newspaper wrote earlier, the delegation from Ukraine was delayed due to difficult logistics – the diplomats decided to go through Poland first. The Ukrainian negotiators were reluctant to go directly to Gomel, as the fighting was going on in the area from the Ukrainian side.

The head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky (pictured), reported that Russia was ready to start negotiations immediately after the arrival of the Ukrainians.

14:35 The Russian-Ukrainian negotiations began with the Ukrainian delegation demanding the return of Crimea and the immediate payment of an indemnity of $14.8 billion, otherwise threatening to launch a large-scale offensive along the entire front.

14:07 Makei to the participants in the talks between Russia and Ukraine: “President Lukashenko sincerely hopes that during today’s talks it will be possible to find ways to resolve all crisis issues. And all Belarusians are praying for this. Any of your requests and proposals regarding the organization of today’s meeting will be accepted and implicitly executed. We are waiting for the result.”

13:55 Lukashenka hopes that in the course of negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine it will be possible to find a solution to all crisis issues, the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reports.

13:17 Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have begun in the Gomel region, BelTA writes. The meeting of delegations is taking place near the Ukrainian border on the banks of the Pripyat River. Due to security reasons, the exact meeting point has not been announced.

11:39 The office of the President of Ukraine says that its main goal of negotiations with Russia is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Read on http://WWW.KP.RU: https://www.kp.ru/daily/27369/4552011/

EU sanctions against Putin and Lavrov

Brussels 27.02.2022 Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine: EU imposes sanctions against President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and adopts wide ranging individual and economic sanctions
The EU today decided to sanction Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

The Council also agreed on a further package of individual and economic measures covering also Belarus to respond to the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression carried out by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
President Putin and his government started a war against an independent, sovereign neighbouring country. The behaviour of the Russian leadership constitutes a major threat to international peace and security. Today, we are replying with the strongest possible restrictive measures. The European Union is united in its resolve, together with international partners and allies, to defend the peace order, international law and the rules based system.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Swiftly implementing the European Council conclusions of 24 February, the package of sanctions adopted today includes:

Individual sanctions
In addition to freezing the assets the Russian President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the EU will impose restrictive measures on the members of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation who supported Russia’s immediate recognition of the two non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities. Sanctions will also be extended to the remaining members of the Russian State Duma, who ratified the government decision of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the two entities.

Furthermore, the EU will also target those individuals, who facilitated the Russian military aggression from Belarus.

Economic sanctions
Financial sanctions
The package adopted today further expands the existing financial restrictions, thereby cutting Russian access to the most important capital markets. It also prohibits the listing and provision of services in relation to shares of Russian state-owned entities on EU trading venues. In addition, it introduces new measures which significantly limit the financial inflows from Russia to the EU, by prohibiting the acceptance of deposits exceeding certain values from Russian nationals or residents, the holding of accounts of Russian clients by the EU Central Securities Depositories, as well as the selling of euro-denominated securities to Russian clients.

These sanctions will target 70% of the Russian banking market, and key state-owned companies, including in the field of defence. They will increase Russia’s borrowing costs, raise inflation and gradually erode Russia’s industrial base. Additionally measures are taken to prevent the Russian elite’s fortunes from being hidden in safe havens in Europe.

Energy sector
The EU will prohibit the sale, supply, transfer or export to Russia of specific goods and technologies in oil refining, and will introduce restrictions on the provision of related services.

By introducing such export ban, the EU intends to hit the Russian oil sector, and make it impossible for Russia to upgrade its oil refineries.

Russia’s export revenues accounted for EUR 24 billion in 2019.

Transport sector
The EU introduced an export ban covering goods and technology in the aviation and space industry, as well as a prohibition on the provision of insurance and reinsurance and maintenance services related to those goods and technology. The EU will also prohibit the provision of related technical and financial assistance.

This ban on the sale of all aircrafts, spare parts and equipment to Russian airlines will degrade one of the key sectors of Russia’s economy and the country’s connectivity, as three quarters of Russia’s current commercial air fleet were built in the EU, the US and Canada.

Technology sector
The EU imposed further restrictions on exports of dual-use goods and technology, as well as restrictions on exports of certain goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s technological enhancement of its defence and security sector.

This will include products such as semiconductors or cutting-edge technologies.

Visa policy
Diplomats, other Russian officials, and business people will no longer be able to benefit from visa facilitation provisions, which allow privileged access to the EU. This decision will not affect ordinary Russian citizens. The decision will enter into force on the day of the adoption.

The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression.

The European Union demands that Russia immediately ceases its military actions, unconditionally withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders. The European Council calls on Russia and Russia-backed armed formations to respect international humanitarian law and stop their disinformation campaign and cyber-attacks.

The use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century. Tensions and conflict should be resolved exclusively through dialogue and diplomacy. The EU will continue cooperating closely with neighbours and reiterates its unwavering support for, and commitment to, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and of the Republic of Moldova. It will continue strong coordination with partners and allies, within the UN, OSCE, NATO and the G7.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned by restrictive measures, will be published in the Official Journal.

Background
Individual restrictive measures will apply to a total of 654 individuals and 52 entities, and include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.

Belarus 1000 political prisoners

Brussels 28.01.2021 Anna van Densky “The number of political prisoners in Belarus has now reached 1000, and continues to grow. This shameful milestone reflects ongoing crackdown of the Lukashenko (pictured) regime against his own population. In addition, many thousands of protestors have fled the country to avoid persecution” reads the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson on the political prisoners in Belarus.

“In today’s Belarus, the space for democratic political opposition and free and independent media activities has been drastically closed off . The Lukashenko regime continues detaining and imprisoning people in appalling conditions, exposing them to ill-treatment and torture and have them condemned to long prison sentences in political trials conducted behind closed doors.

“Legally defending political prisoners has become dangerous, with more than 40 lawyers reported to have their licenses revoked.

“Belarus must adhere to its international commitments and obligations within the UN and OSCE. The EU reiterates its demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. The EU will continue to work for justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.

EU leaders convene in Brussels

Brussels 16.10.2021 The EU leaders convene in Brussels to discuss developments related to COVID-19, crisis management and resilience, energy prices, security and defence, external aspects of migration and the situation in Belarus. The meeting has started at 10.00 am and will be followed by a press conference.
EU leaders will discuss migration, focusing on its external dimension and the implementation of the June 2021 conclusions.

The European Council will discuss the situation at the EU’s border with Belarus, including the restrictive measures. On December 2, 2021, the Council adopted the fifth package of sanctions over continued human rights abuses and the instrumentalisation of migrants. In view of this situation, the Council imposed restrictive measures on an additional 17 individuals and 11 entities, targeting prominent members of the judicial branch and propaganda outlets that contribute to the continued repression of civil society, democratic opposition, independent media outlets and journalists, and high-ranking political officials and companies that have helped incite and organise illegal border crossing for political purposes.

The European Council will discuss Russia’s military build-up at the border with Ukraine, including the EU restrictive measures in response to the crisis in Ukraine. On 11 October, the Council decided to impose restrictive measures on an additional 8 individuals for actively supporting actions and implementing policies that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

The persons added to the EU sanctions list include law enforcement officials – judges, prosecutors and security officers – responsible for enforcing Russian law in the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol. Those individuals have taken biased decisions in politically-motivated cases, and prosecuted or oppressed opponents of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

EU restrictive measures regarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine now apply to a total of 185 persons and 48 entities. Those designated persons are subject to an asset freeze – including a prohibition on making funds available to them – and a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through the EU.

European Union – African Union Summit
The European Council is expected to take stock of the preparations for the EU-African Union Summit on 17-18 February 2022. In the light of current events, the European Council may address other specific foreign policy issues.

Europarl: Belarus sanctions in view

Strasbourg 26.10.2021 Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke to MEPs about the continuing crackdown on dissenting voices in Belarus and called on the EU to take firm action against the regime.

“The Belarusian regime has shown itself willing to seize individuals from international flights, misuse international agencies to punish dissent, to weaponise migrants in a way deliberately designed to undermine the stability and security of Europe,” said Tsikhanouskaya during her speech in the Parliament on 24 November.

The Belarusian opposition leader called on the EU to help address the ongoing crisis with migrants on the EU-Belarus borders: “Both Belarussians and migrants are now hostages of the regime and these two problems cannot be solved separately.”

She said the EU should coordinate sanctions against the regime with the US and the UK to make the sanctions “effective and not only symbolic”.

Ahead of Tsikhanouskaya’s speech, Parliament President David Sassoli condemned the actions of the Belarusian regime and called on other institutions to defend the respect of fundamental rights in the country.

“Belarus continues to violate the rights of its citizens, to silence civil society’s voice, to use repression as a daily weapon,” said Sassoli. “The regime didn’t hesitate to use men, women and children who needed protection, putting their lives in danger without any respect for fundamental human rights, just to destabilise the EU.”

Tsikhanouskaya’s address comes amid a continuing geopolitical crisis on the EU-Belarus border. The Belarusian regime has been funnelling migrants primarily from the Middle East to the country’s border with the EU, and in particular Poland. In response, the EU agreed to expand the bloc’s existing sanctions on Belarus to target, among others, airlines and officials involved in bringing migrants to the border areas.

EU diplomacy focus on Belarus

Brussels 15.11.2021 “First, we are going to have the Foreign Affairs Council. After [this] we are going to have the meeting with the Ministers of the Eastern Partnership. And after this, we will have the Jumbo meeting with Foreign and Defense Ministers to start talking about the Strategic Compass” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at doorstep of the meeting of the ministers in Brussels.(Image: Europa building, archive)

“On the Foreign Affairs Ministers Council: we are going to review the whole set of problems starting certainly with the situation in Belarus. Yesterday, I had phone calls with my Polish [Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau], Lithuanian [Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis] and Belarusian Minister [Vladimir Makei] also with the Secretary General of the United Nations [António Guterres] in order to prepare the meeting. We had the opportunity to share with the Secretary General of the United Nations how things are going on the ground. I talked to the Belarussian Minister to tell him that the situation was totally unacceptable that humanitarian help has to be provided. And that we have to think about how we can solve the problem starting by stopping the [migration] flow. Stopping the flights. This is almost done.

“During these days we have been talking with countries of origin and transit. My colleague [Vice-President Margaritis] Schinas is in Bagdad. And I think that from my point of view, the inflow of things are becoming under control. But we have to provide humanitarian assistance to these people and to prevent any kind of hybrid attack against the European Union border. This is something that will take an important part of our meeting.

“But there are many other issues. The situation in the Western Balkans, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where there are tendencies which are undermining the unity of the country and hampering its development, and its way towards the European Union. The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina also. And in general, the situation in the Balkans, which is not especially good.

“The Sahel will also be part of our work today. Last night, there was another attack in Burkina Faso. 20 more people dead, killed. Our security starts in the Sahel and we had to engage more with the region.

“We will talk also about the situation in Varosha, in Cyprus, in Syria; but mainly in Sudan and Ethiopia. We have to try to avoid [an] implosion of the country. The situation in Ethiopia is becoming worse by every moment and we will try to avoid the implosion of the country”.

EU-Belarus: new wave of sanctions

Brussels 14.11.2021 As the European Union faces a new migration crisis, organised by Belarus which encourages the entry of migrants into EU countries, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) said the bloc is ready for a new wave of sanctions.

The EU diplomat deplores the situation and announces a new wave of sanctions to come against a number of Belarusian personalities. However Borrell also talks about Poland and its affront to the rule of law.

“We push the migrants: they leave 12 countries and Belarus pushes them against the border. We can end up in a humanitarian drama: it is an attack on the dignity of migrants that we bring to a dead end. (…) Yes, we are going to vote for a fifth round of sanctions, relating to those who organise these trips. (…) Lukashenko has imprisoned 35,000 people. If he could cut off the gas, he would, but the the Russians are not going to let him do it because the gas is sold by them.”

Poland wants to build an anti-migrant wall with the help of European funds, while Brussels wants to cut off funding for its breaches of the rule of law. For Josep Borrell, “there are more walls in Europe today than at the time of the Berlin Wall. However, it is not with walls that we are going to stop the migration problems”.

Regarding the “strategic compass” to guide Europeans in their diplomacy, the EU diplomat believes that “Europe is in a very dangerous environment and must have complementary instruments to NATO in order to be able to intervene in an environment that concerns it.”

Migrants storm Polish border

Brussels 11.11.2011 Polish law enforcement officers thwarted an attempt to storm the border by a large group of migrants late on Wednesday evening, November 10, Spokeswoman for the Polish border guards service Ewelina Szczepanska reported on Thursday.

“The incident occurred late last night. The situation is very complicated. It constantly comes to attempts to storm the border. 150 violent migrants tried to cross the border in the area of Bialowieza this time. They threw branches and stones at our officers, attempted to break the fence with these branches,” she said.

“This attempt was prevented. Later some of these people were taken to the forest by the Belarusian law enforcement agencies. The rest made bonfires,” Szczepanska informed. According to her, the border guards have been monitoring the development of the situation and expect similar attempts in the coming days. “We don’t rule this out. We are ready and will not allow any illegal border crossing,” she stated.

Polish border guards thwarted about 33,000 attempts to illegally cross the border in the past year. Most of those trying to enter Poland are Iraqi nationals who want to reach Germany.

EU: Belarus visa suspension

Brussels 09.11.2021 “The Council today adopted a decision partially suspending the application of the EU-Belarus visa facilitation agreement. This decision is a response to the ongoing hybrid attack launched by the Belarusian regime.

“The suspension covers the provisions that waive requirements for documentary evidence, regulate the issuing of multiple entry visas and reduce visa application fees as they apply to officials of the Belarus regime. This decision will not affect ordinary citizens of Belarus, who will continue to enjoy the same benefits under the visa facilitation agreement as they do currently.

“The decision will now be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force on the second day following publication. Under the visa facilitation agreement the decision on suspension is to be notified to the other party no later than 48 hours before its entry into force.

The EU-Belarus visa facilitation agreement entered into force on 1 July 2020, in parallel with the EU-Belarus readmission agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate the issuance of short stay visas and thereby contribute to enhancing people-to-people contacts and sharing values and democratic principles.

Following the political upheaval in Belarus and the restrictive measures adopted by the EU, in June 2021 Belarus began to organise flights and internal travel to facilitate the transit of migrants towards the EU, first to Lithuania and then to Latvia and Poland. Belarus also announced on 28 June 2021 that it would suspend the readmission agreement with the EU.

Hundreds of migrants are camped in frigid weather behind a razor-wire fence on the Poland-Belarus border. Poland has massed thousands of troops to keep them out, and prevented journalists, aid organizations and EU officials from traveling to the area.

Lithuania forces migrants back to Belarus

Brussels 30.10.2021 Lithuanian border guards effectively performed return of more than 180 migrants from Asian and African countries in the past days, forcing them back into Belarus, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry’s Border Guard Service said in a statement on Friday, October 29.

“As many as 186 illegal migrants tried to enter several of Lithuania’s border districts, the highest number since August 4. The offenders were forced back into Belarus,” the statement reads.

According to the border service, Lithuanian border guards did not use special military equipment and weapons.

Over 4,000 illegal migrants have been detained on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border since the beginning of the year, 50 times more than in 2020.

Vilnius believes that the migration crisis was triggered by Minsk and has denounced it as a hybrid attack on Lithuania in retaliation for its policy of supporting the Belarusian opposition.

Meanwhile amid an illegitimate state of emergency and a wider political stand-off with the Belarusian Alexander Lukashenko regime, Poland is attempting to legalise migrants’ pushbacks (refoulement) in clear breach of European and international law but with the alarming support and emulation of various Member States, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement today.

On October 14, the Polish parliament passed a law enabling border guards to immediately send back migrants who crossed the border irregularly, allowing for their asylum applications to be refused without examination and banning them from the country “for between six months and three years”.

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