BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union foreign ministers are expected to decide on Monday to extend sanctions against Belarus to include airlines, travel agents and those suspected of helping to attract migrants to Belarus Europe as part of a “hybrid attack” on the bloc by President Alexander Lukashenko.
The 27 EU countries have already imposed a series of sanctions on Lukashenko and top Belarusian officials for what the bloc described as fraudulent elections last August that illegitimately returned him to power and a security crackdown against the opposition and the peaceful protesters that followed.
Ministers are expected to adjust the types of sanctions that can be imposed to include airlines and travel agents allegedly involved in the migrant stalemate at Belarusian borders with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Those who will be affected by the measures, which involve asset freezes and travel bans, are expected to be named in the coming days.
The EU says the authoritarian Belarusian regime for months invited migrants to Minsk, many of them Iraqis, with the promise to help them cross the borders of the three countries, which form the eastern flank of the EU-27 and NATO.
In response, the three strengthened their borders. In an interview on Sunday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he and his two Baltic counterparts were discussing whether to call for emergency consultations within the NATO military alliance.