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European Union Agrees to New Sanctions on Belarus over the Border Crisis

On 15th November 2021, the European Union (EU) has decided to impose fresh and new sanctions against Belarus. The decision comes after Belarus has been accused of accelerating the situation into a humanitarian crisis at the border.  The Western bloc has been making efforts to stop what it says is a policy by Belarus to push migrants towards it in revenge for earlier sanctions. Belarus has already rejected the allegations by the bloc. Josep Borrell, a top official of the EU, has said that the fifth package of sanctions had been agreed by EU foreign ministers and would be finalized in the coming days. In a report, Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary has stated that the Biden administration has been calling on Russia to use its influence to push Alexander Lukashenko to cease its “callous exploitation and coercion of vulnerable people” and help stabilize the situation. 

According to the reports, new sanctions have targeted around 166 individuals and 15 companies from Belarus across four different series of sanctions, which includes family members of President Lukashenko as well. Further, the organization has regarded President Lukashenko’s action both as inhuman and deplorable. 

Now a months-long border crisis along the European Union’s frontiers with Belarus has become into a serious geopolitical dispute and has increased fears of a humanitarian disaster. Around 3,000 to 4,000 migrants and refugees, many of whom belong to the Middle East and Afghanistan, have camped out in what is known as a no-man’s-land between Belarus and Poland. This started to happen after people were being denied entry to the EU nation. Human rights groups and global bodies have raised concerns for their wellbeing, pointing to the reporting of deaths on both sides of the border as conditions of severe winters and limitation of drinking water and food increase. Those who are trying to leave Belarus have been denied entry to Poland, with a forbidding barbed wire fence and masses of security forces deployed by Warsaw barring their way. They are stuck in freezing temperatures, without access to vital supplies or medical care, as fears for their safety mount.