EU to strengthen sanctions against Belarus to limit loopholes for Russia – Financial Times
Alexander Lukashenko. Photo: EPA

The European Union plans to expand sanctions against the Belarusian regime of Alexander Lukashenko, as Russia uses Belarus to circumvent sanctions, the Financial Times reports.

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According to a draft seen by the Financial Times, the new restrictions being discussed by EU member states are aimed at "minimizing the risk of circumvention."

The new sanctions will ban the export to and through Belarus of technologies and goods that can be used for military purposes, as well as liquefied natural gas. The EU will also stop importing diamonds from Belarus.

If the new sanctions are adopted, their main direction will be to restrict the flow of sales of luxury cars to Belarus, which then go to Russia.

The monthly flow of vehicles and spare parts to Belarus from EU countries increased from $50 million in January 2022 to $268 million in January 2024. The largest increase in exports was recorded in the most expensive categories of cars, i.e. those that fell under EU sanctions against Russia.

Customs officers from EU countries believe that Belarusian companies have become a key component of Russian smuggling networks. According to the Financial Times, despite the sanctions, Rolls-Royce and Maybach luxury cars are still being imported to Russia. This is how they end up in the Russian Federation within a few months after leaving the factory.

Recently, cases of MAZ buses catching fire have become more frequent in the Russian Federation. The Belarusian manufacturer cited Western sanctions as one of the reasons.