EU Ministers to expand Belarus sanctions
The European Union is expected to blacklist another 12 Belarusian individuals close to the regime of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka when the member states foreign ministers meet in Brussels on March 23.
EU diplomats told RFE/RL that they will have their assets frozen and be subject to an EU visa ban, including judges, prosecutors, and businessmen -- such as Yury Chizh.
Assets of 29 entities linked to the individuals on the list will also be frozen.
Chizh was removed from a similar list last month after pressure from Latvia and Slovenia due to the two countries close business ties with the Belarusian tycoon.
Diplomats said Ljubljana and Riga had agreed to place him on the list this time, but secured that some of his entities wont be sanctioned.
A total of 231 Belarusian individuals and three entities have so far been targeted by the European Union.
Meanwhile in Belarus, Lukashenka confirmed on March 21 that his government had created a list of political opponents and activists who are barred from leaving the country.
In an interview with Russias state-run RT television, Lukashenka said the list had been drawn up, but "we havent put it fully into action."
He said the move was a response to European Union travel restrictions imposed on figures associated with the government for their role in repressing political opposition.
In the interview, Lukashenka accused opposition activists of running a "fifth column" against him by advocating increased EU sanctions.
He accused them of advising the EU on which companies and individuals to target with sanctions.
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty