Belarus slams ‘absurd’ new sanctions over migration crisis

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Belarus on Thursday (Dec 2) denounced expanded Western sanctions imposed on the ex-Soviet country over the migrant crisis that unfolded on its border with EU member Poland.

“The depth of the absurdity of the EU’s decision on the latest sanctions against sovereign Belarus and its very content is by now difficult to comprehend,” the Belarusian foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said that European officials “imagined some aggression” from the Belarusian side and “hypocritically delivered a sanctions blow”.

The ministry also accused the West of “demonising” Belarus and vowed “tough” retaliatory measures.

“The burden of responsibility is placed on Belarus while blatantly ignoring the true causes of the global migration crisis,” it said.

In recent months thousands of migrants from the Middle East have travelled to Belarus in the hopes of entering the EU through Poland.

About 2,000 people last month camped out on the border in freezing conditions before the makeshift camp was cleared out by border guards and the migrants moved to a logistics centre.

The United States, Canada and European allies on Thursday announced fresh sanctions on Belarus, placing restrictions on government figures and entities.

The sanctions targeted senior security and justice officials, prominent media figures, a son of Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko, defence-related firms and a major fertilizer exporter.

Lukashenko’s regime has faced multiple rounds of Western sanctions over a crackdown on opposition protests last year and the forced grounding of a European passenger flight over Minsk in May.

Western governments accuse Lukashenko of luring the migrants to his country to spark a border crisis with the EU in revenge for sanctions, which he denies.

 

Agencies

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