but the foreign Ministers of the European Union for the first time decided to gather for an emergency meeting about what is happening in Belarus: diplomats discuss possible sanctions against Minsk over unfair elections and beating protesters. There is little doubt that restrictive measures will be imposed, but in the EU there is disagreement about how serious they should be. Brussels fears that too tough a response could push Belarus into Russia’s arms.
“Either Russia or Poland,” Lukashenko called on to decide
For the introduction of sanctions against Minsk are at least Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Luxembourg. For the first time this topic is raised on 14 August, but the specific solutions are likely to be adopted at the next meeting, scheduled on August 27-28.
there is No evidence that any EU country is going to block restrictive measures (against Belarus. — NEWS.ru), because the level of violence there is outrageous — he told Reuters a source familiar with the negotiations. — We only need to determine the pressure level and avoid counterproductive actions that will push Lukashenko into the arms of Russia, if he sees that it is the only way to stay in power.
Alexander Lukashenko, meanwhile, has found an unexpected ally in the European Union. According to Reuters, it is Hungary, which threatens to block the most stringent sanctions against Minsk. As for the restrictions required the voices of all 27 member countries without the approval of Budapest the issue of sanctions will not budge.
Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, visited Belarus on a visit in June, said then that the remaining sanctions must be lifted. At the moment, the arms embargo and a ban on exports to the Republic of everything that could contribute to the repression against the civilian population. Most of the restrictions from the West were cancelled in 2016 after Lukashenko took the decision to release political prisoners.
Most likely, the favor Budapest to Minsk because he understands it — may soon be in his place. Brussels is not the first accused Orban’s authoritarianism and threatens punishment for an attack on freedom of speech and democratic institutions. Supporting tough sanctions against the Belarusian regime, Hungary would establish a precedent which in the future can use against her.
In addition, against the draconian measures in favor of Poland: in Warsaw, the fear of repetition of the Ukrainian events of 2014, when the West clearly supported the protesters in Kie��e, but this has led to the loss of the Crimea and the war in the East of the country. The Polish authorities suggest that in fear of losing Belarus as an ally, Russia could occupy the territory of neighboring States, which in turn is bordered by Poland. Therefore, with the promises of the Belarusian opposition need to be careful.
So the most likely option is personal sanctions against the citizens of Belarus implicated in election rigging, beatings of protesters and attacks on freedom of speech. Their accounts in the EU will be frozen and, most likely, to them will forbid entrance on the territory of the Union. Indirectly this is evidenced by the statement of the EU Council made earlier. It stresses that in 2015 relations between Belarus and the West have improved, but without progress in human rights, they can quickly revert back.
against this backdrop, we will evaluate the actions of the Belarusian authorities to resolve the current situation and to conduct a thorough revision of the EU’s relations with Belarus, — says the statement of the Council of the European Union. — It can include, among other things, action against those who are responsible for the observed violence, unjust arrests and the falsification of the election results.
U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo also previously hinted that Washington was ready to punish the police for brutality against protesters. According to him, these can be either sanctions or a ban on the supply of energy. It is worth noting that the United States has put the Republic for already two tankers with oil, the last of which arrived on 9 August. In January, the United States promised 100% to provide Belarus with oil on the background of the failure of the negotiations on this subject with Moscow.
Pompeo statement made Belarusian oil refineries nervous. The Chairman of the concern “Belneftekhim” Andrei Rybakov August 13, said that his company looks forward to continued cooperation with the United States, but no answer was received.
Really painful for Belarus may be just the cessation of oil supplies, as the products of the refinery — one of the few articles of export of the Republic that are in demand abroad. As to personal sanctions, which they say the EU, then the effect will be more symbolic.
But the degree of protest in Belarus has not abated, and Lukashenka continues to rely on the use of force to suppress. If events continue to develop in this way, Brussels and Washington can think about more serious variants of pressure on the official Minsk. And in terms of Western sanctions, a nationwide protest movement and the lack of any help from Russia the President of Belarus will be even harder to keep the elusive power.