EU sanctions 22 Belarusian officials over Ukraine operation
Belarus is facing a new batch of sanctions in light of the Russian operation in Ukraine, with the EU accusing Minsk of having a hand in the operation.
The European Council will be imposing a fresh round of sanctions on 22 Belarusian officials for alleged links to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine.
"The Council today decided to impose targeted restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, on 22 high ranked members of Belarusian military personnel," the council said in a statement.
The European body attributed the decision to Minsk's alleged role in the decision-making and strategic planning processes that led to the "Belarusian involvement in the Russian aggression against Ukraine."
Officials did not suffice, as the council also imposed trade sanctions and a ban on military-linked exports and services.
This is not the first time that Belarus faced western sanctions over the Russian operation, as 20 Belarusian officials had been sanctioned in the wake of the operation on February 24.
The EU now has a list of 702 individuals and 53 entities sanctioned over Ukraine, and the sanctions include asset freezes, travel bans, and even removal from the SWIFT system.
Russia had for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.
After the West did not respond to Russia's demands, and amid Ukrainian shelling on the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, President Vladimir Putin initiated a special military operation to protect Donbass.
To counter the Russian de-Nazification of Ukraine, the West imposed harsh sanctions on Russia, which affected many economic sectors, not only in Russia, but the whole world.
US to impose sanctions on Belarus, Russian defense
The Biden administration is likely to announce Wednesday several restrictive measures on Belarus and Russia's defense sector, US media reported.
The European Union had announced that it made the decision to disconnect a wide array of Russian banks from SWIFT, seven, to be exact.
The banks, VTB BANK, Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, Sovcombank, and Vnesheconomban, would not be able to transmit financial information to counterparties on domestic transactions and international transactions.
However, the Central Bank of Russia said it was allowing the aforementioned banks to use its messaging system, which allows for an exchange of information, including in SWIFT format.