February 28 – March 6, 2022
Belarus-West relations

The West will punish Belarus as harshly as Russia for aggression against Ukraine

The situation got worse

Although the Belarusian army is still not involved in direct hostilities against Ukraine, the West intends to impose the same “draconian” sanctions against Belarus as against Russia. Voluntarily allowing Russian troops to use Belarusian territory for military aggression against Ukraine means that the Belarusian regime is perceived as equally culpable and will become the object of investigation by an international tribunal.

Sanctions imposed by Western countries and commercial entities against Belarus leave no doubt that draconian sanctions will be extended from Russia to Belarus for participation in the unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions will be directed against strategic sectors of the Belarusian economy and aim to disable Belarus’ access to the international financial system, including financing from international financial institutions.

The Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development voted to impose restrictive measures against Belarus and Russia in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Subsequently, the World Bank terminated its programs in Belarus and Russia, blocking new loans and investments. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), created at the initiative of China, has also suspended cooperation with Russia and Belarus in connection with the war in Ukraine.

The European Parliament condemned Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenka’s role and demanded that Belarus be disconnected from SWIFT.

So far, the European Union has limited itself to additional sanctions against Belarus, calling for the termination by June 4th of all previously signed contracts related to:

  • supply of dual-use goods and technologies to Belarus;
  • supply to Belarus of goods and technologies that can contribute to the development of the defence sector;
  • import of wood products produced or exported by Belarus;
  • import of cement products produced or exported by Belarus;
  • import of rubber products produced or exported by Belarus;
  • import of steel and iron products produced or exported by Belarus.

The European Commission has suspended cross-border cooperation programs with Belarus and Russia, terminating future payments (Belarus participated in two programs with funding of EUR 257 million).

Following the EU, the United States has extended technology sanctions on Russia to Belarus, subjecting the supply of software and technology to strict export controls. Intel, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of computer processors, immediately announced the termination of supplies to Belarus and Russia.

In light of this, the international financial rating agency, S&P, downgraded the long-term credit ratings of Belarus in foreign or local currency to CCC (close to a pre-default state) with a negative outlook, predicting a default within the next 12 months. The reason given for the revision was Belarusian support for Russia’s attack on Ukraine, leading to unprecedented sanctions, which will seriously undermine the Belarusian economy and create a significant risk to financial stability.

Meanwhile, in The Hague, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, initiated an investigation into the invasion of Ukraine, which will cover crimes committed by any party to the conflict. Attempts to postpone direct participation in hostilities by hosting negotiations is unlikely to absolve the Belarusian regime of the blame for allowing Russian troops to attack from Belarusian territory.

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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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