August 7, 2023

EU adopts new Belarus-related sanctions and designates additional individuals and entities

On August 3, 2023, the Council of the EU adopted Council Regulation (EU) 2123/1594 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2023/1601 to impose new restrictive measures against Belarus for its involvement in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.  The new measures include a ban on the sale, supply, transfer or export of firearms, including their parts, components and ammunition, and an export ban on goods and technology used in aviation and the space industry.  The Council also imposed additional export restrictions on certain goods utilized by Russia in its war against Ukraine, including semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits, manufacturing and testing equipment and photographic cameras and optical components, and extended the export ban on dual-use goods and technology to persons or entities in Belarus.

The Council also adopted Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1591 and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2023/1592 to sanction 38 additional individuals and 3 additional entities that allegedly engaged in serious human rights violations and the repression of civil society in Belarus.  Among the designees are current and former penitentiary heads responsible for the brutal treatment and torture of political prisoners and other citizens detained for engaging in peaceful protests following the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.  Other designees include former and current members of the judicial system and the Public Security Police who are allegedly responsible for the politically-motivated detention and prosecution of protestors and other Belarusian human rights defenders.  Several propagandists for the Lukashenka regime were also designated, including Ksenia Lebedzeva and Anastasia Benedzisiuk, who host information and analytical programs on the state-owned “Belarus 1” television channel.  Three large state-owned enterprises that fund the Lukashenka regime were also designated, including oil and chemical conglomerate Belneftekhim, one of the largest industrial complexes in Belarus that has reportedly played a key role in the development of a common oil market between Russia and Belarus.

The new designees are now subject to asset freezes and travel bans in the EU, and EU persons are generally prohibited from making funds available to them.  Belarus also remains subject to restrictions in finance, trade, energy, transport and other sectors.

Council of the EU Press Release | Council Regulation (EU) 2023/1594 | Council Decision (CFSP) 2023/1601 | Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1591 | Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2023/1592