November 14 – November 20, 2022
Belarus-West relations

The 9th package of Western sanctions is on the way as the regime aggravates the situation

The situation has not changed

Western countries are preparing to introduce the 9th package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus. Rather than trying to avoid this, Belarusian cooperation with the Russian military-industrial complex is intensifying, risking even more significant sanctions. The leader of the democratic forces in exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, continues to delegitimise the regime and endeavours to keep Belarusian issues on the agenda of Western countries, despite the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The European Union is preparing the 9th package of sanctions against Belarus and Russia, which may be adopted in December. Meanwhile, deepening cooperation between Belarus and Russia regarding import substitution risks the introduction of further sanctions.

It is assumed that as part of fourteen import-substituting projects worth USD 1.7 billion, Belarus will commence production of microelectronics, large-radius bearings, and lighting equipment, funded by loans from Belarusbank and the Development Bank, which Russia will, in turn, underwrite. In particular, Belarus will invest USD 200 million, provided by Russia, in producing military microelectronics. The United States has already imposed sanctions against the procurement network for the Russian military-industrial complex, which may soon be directed against Belarus.

Given the continuing growth in the Russian military presence in Belarus and their preparation for military operations against Ukraine, Belarus is beginning to be perceived as an essential element of the strategic equation. Accordingly, the activities of the leader of the democratic forces in exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, are aimed at lobbying for the inclusion of Belarusian issues in the international response to the Russian-Ukrainian war. For example, Canada has condemned the Government of Belarus’ support for Russia’s invasion and supports the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people, materially threatened by Lukashenka’s actions. Removing Belarus from the Russian military equation is key to undermining Russia’s war effort.

The US attention has noted that Russia is using the war to expand its permanent military presence in Belarus and that urgent steps must be taken to protect Belarusian independence.

Thanks to the efforts of Tsikhanouskaya’s Office, Belarus remains on the EU agenda, and Brussels claims that attention to Belarus has not weakened due to the war in Ukraine.

The main objectives of EU cooperation are:

  • assistance in efforts to protect the independence of Belarus and the return of the Belarusian nation to the European family;
  • easing visa procedures for Belarusians, strengthening educational and cultural exchanges, supporting private businesses not related to the regime, media and civil society;
  • the restart of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism regarding the Lukashenka regime;
  • blocking relations with Minsk and delegating to Belarusian democratic forces the right to represent Belarusian interests of Belarus in the European Political Community, including the Eastern Partnership;
  • support for Belarusian activists, volunteers and volunteers in Ukraine.

As part of her efforts to delegitimise the Lukashenka regime, Tsikhanouskaya declared herself the elected president whose mission is to manage a transition period and hold new elections. Tsikhanouskaya acts as the national leader of Belarus and, together with the Joint Transitional Cabinet, represents Belarus in the international arena. On foreign trips, she is recognised as the head of state, although she did not formally assume office. This reflects a new status quo and irreversibly solidifies the reluctance of Western countries to have formal or informal relations with the Belarusian regime.


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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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