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November 13 – November 19, 2023
Belarus-West relations

The European Union is currently working on the 12th round of sanctions targeting both Russia and Belarus

The situation has gotten better
The European Union is currently working on the 12th round of sanctions targeting both Russia and Belarus
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This new set of sanctions aims to reinforce existing measures and prevent any potential circumvention. For the Belarusian segment, the package includes restrictions on 11 officials, particularly those from the military, security, and military-industrial complex. In parallel, Lithuania and Ukraine are implementing their own sanctions. Furthermore, the United States is paving the way for the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Belarusian President Lukashenka.

The European Commission has formally presented proposals for the 12th round of sanctions against Russia and Belarus to the European Council. These proposals outline restrictions on over 120 individuals and legal entities, encompassing figures from the Russian military, defense, IT sectors, and other significant economic entities.

The main components of the proposals involve fresh bans on imports and exports, including the import of Russian diamonds, and additional restrictions designed to prevent Russia from skirting the oil price ceiling.

Initial consultations at the ambassadorial level have revealed that the entire package is far from being finalized, partially due to Hungary’s stance. Consequently, the EU is expected to adopt the final version of the document no earlier than December, possibly even after the New Year holidays. Despite this, available details suggest that the European Union is gearing up for a prolonged conflict and sustained sanctions standoff, with a primary focus on addressing gaps in previous packages.

One notable measure in the plans is the EU’s intention to prohibit the direct purchase of Russian diamonds starting from the beginning of the next year, gradually extending the ban to diamonds cut in India and other countries. The new oil sanctions aim to counter the systematic circumvention of the price ceiling. In October, almost none of the Russian sea oil deliveries were conducted at prices below the USD 60 per barrel limit.

However, the much-anticipated measure of transferring Russian financial assets frozen in the EU for the reconstruction needs of Ukraine is not part of this package.

The new package of EU sanctions may also include 11 Belarusian officials from the State Military-Industrial Committee, the armed forces, the Ministry of Defense, the Investigative Committee, and Belaeronavigatsiya.

Ahead of the introduction of the 12th package of restrictions, the Lithuanian government has approved changes to the national list of dual-use goods subject to export control. This is a preventive measure aimed at blocking their transit through Lithuania to Russia. Back in June, Vilnius already restricted the export of dual-use goods to Central Asian countries through Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia that could be employed in military operations in Ukraine. The updated list now includes goods potentially used in the production of high-explosive shells, tanks, drones, etc.

Simultaneously, Ukraine has imposed sanctions against organizers involved in the removal of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories, including Paralympic athlete Alexey Talay and the Local Charitable Foundation named after Alexey Talay. The list also features Secretary of State of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev and Commissioner for Children’s Rights under the President of the Russian Federation Maria Lvova-Belova.

In connection with the initiative to issue an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for the Belarusian leadership, the American Humanitarian Research Laboratory at the Yale School of Public Health (Yale HRL) published a report titled “Cooperation between Belarus and Russia in the systematic deportation of children from Ukraine.” The report alleges that Alexander Lukashenka directly controlled this activity in coordination with Moscow, approved the use of state and non-state organizations to transport children from Ukraine to Belarus, financed their transportation from the joint budget of the Union State, and collaborated with various pro-regime structures to facilitate the transportation of children from Ukraine to Belarus. The report also claims that more than half of the institutions where Ukrainian children were kept were used for re-education, military training, or unknown medical activities.

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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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