By Vish Gain for AML Intelligence
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has issued a sweeping set of sanctions against Belarus following the forced landing of a RyanAir plane last month to arrest journalist Roman Pratasevich.
In non-binding resolutions adopted June 10, MEPs called for economic sanctions targeting Belarus’s state-run companies and asked for a halt to all cooperation and financing for state-owned banks, including a proposal to implement a SWIFT international banking ban for the country.
Asset freezes and visa bans on 88 Belarussian nationals — including President Alexander Lukashenko himself — and seven entities have also been called for in the resolution, which called the country’s current regime “illegitimate, illegal and criminal”.
While the forced landing of the RyanAir flight last month sped up the sanctions process, EU lawmakers had already been working on sanctions on senior Belarusian officials for electoral fraud in the presidential election of August 2020 and subsequent human rights violations.
EU lawmakers called the forced landing of the flight in Minsk and the detention of Pratasevich and his girlfriend a “horrendous act” in violation of international law that constituted an “act of state terrorism”.
Earlier this week, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told MEPs the bloc would likely adopt economic sanctions on Belarus later in June when EU foreign ministers meet to hammer out the details, according to a report by RFE/RL.
The EU has also banned Belarusian carriers from using the bloc’s airports and airspace, while the United States is reportedly coordinating a response with European allies and the G7 to discuss next steps.