Brussels working on fresh sanctions against Belarus over migrant influx

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The European Commission has confirmed it is preparing fresh sanctions against Belarus over the flood of migrants across the country’s borders.

Luc Devigne, deputy managing director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional cooperation and OSCE at the European External Action Service (EEAS) told MEPs during a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee, that a fifth-round of measures is in the work against President Alexander Lukashenko and his regime.

“Obviously we will continue fighting against this terrible instrumentalisation of migrants and human misery by the Lukashenko regime. Fighting against that obviously will include sanctions and work on the fifth package is starting now with the member state,” Devigne said on Thursday.

“And obviously…monitoring courts and judges and prosecutors who are aiding the repression of the poor Belarusian population is a key factor,” the EEAS official added.

Latvia, Lithuania and Poland accuse Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of sending migrants – mainly from Afghanistan and Iraq – across their borders, in order to destabilise their countries.

They say Lukashenko is taking advantage of the EU’s perceived weakness on migration and according to the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mantas Adomėnas, tougher action is needed to prevent it from continuing.

“This cannot be left without a strong and swift EU response, as Lukashenko will continue to later disregard international commitments and continue to use, not only sort-of hybrid schemes against the EU, but will also definitely will try to come up with new schemes and new methods of destabilisation and new kinds of hybrid attacks,” Adomėnas said.

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