Belarusian national carrier Belavia and Syria’s Cham Wings Airlines are among entities the European Union is planning to sanction over a migrant crisis that the bloc blames on Minsk.
EU member states are expected to approve sanctions on 17 individuals and 11 entities this week, according to two people familiar with the measures, who asked not to be identified because the decision isn’t yet public. Nitrogen fertilizer producer Grodno Azot and oil producer Belarusneft, as well as Belarusian border officials and judges, are also on the list, one of the people said.
In addition, a senior U.S. State Department official said the Biden administration will “very soon” unveil a new sanctions package against Belarus that was coordinated with European nations. The official, who asked not to be identified discussing the plans in advance of an announcement, declined to elaborate.
The EU accuses President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the crisis involving thousands of people from the Middle East in retaliation for mounting sanctions the bloc imposed over his crackdown on opposition protests following last year’s disputed presidential election. The Belarusian leader told migrants last week that he wouldn’t block their attempts to cross into EU member states Poland and Lithuania.
Last month, the EU approved new powers that allow it to sanction people and entities involved in human trafficking and people smuggling.
(Updates with U.S. planning sanctions in third paragraph)
–With assistance from Nick Wadhams.