MEPs: All EU sanctions against Russia must apply to Belarus

©European Union, 2021, Source: EP – Multimedia Centre©European Union, 2021, Source: EP – Multimedia Centre

  • Belarus and Russia jointly responsible for the war in Ukraine
  • The Belarusian regime’s crackdown on trade unions and the opposition must end
  • Call to immediately abolish the death penalty
  • Strengthen the EU’s cooperation with Belarus’ democratic forces

MEPs strongly condemn the support that the Belarusian regime under dictator Aliaksandr Lukashenka has provided to Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.

In a resolution adopted by show of hands on Thursday, the European Parliament vehemently opposes the role the Belarusian regime has played in assisting with Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine. This includes the so-called referendum reinstating the country’s nuclear status, but also that Belarus has allowed Russian troops and weapons to move through its territory, use its airspace, refuel and store military ammunition.

MEPs therefore consider the Belarusian regime to be jointly responsible for the attack, bearing all the legal consequences deriving from international law.

In addition, they also note Russia’s increased role in Belarus, including its financial influence, which they say raises serious doubts about Belarus’s ability to make sovereign decisions.

Sanctions on Russia must be mirrored for Belarus

Parliament welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a sixth sanctions package against Russia and Belarus and calls on EU countries in the Council to ensure its comprehensive and swift implementation. All EU sanctions issued against Russia must be strictly mirrored for Belarus and implemented appropriately, MEPs urge, “including in all future rounds of sanctions”.

The resolution also underlines the need for a comprehensive investigation into the crimes committed by Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s regime against the Belarusian people. It calls on EU countries to actively apply the universal jurisdiction principle and prepare court cases against Belarusian officials responsible for or complicit in violence and repression, including Mr Lukashenka himself.

End the crackdown on trade unions and the political opposition

The resolution firmly condemns the recent arrest and detention of trade union leaders and representatives by the Belarusian authorities. This represents an attack on both human rights and the fundamental rights enshrined in international conventions. As a result, those arrested must be immediately released and ensured access to independent justice.

Parliament also denounces the recent changes made to the Belarusian Criminal Code introducing the death penalty for ‘attempted acts of terrorism’. This move can easily be used by the regime against its political opponents, MEPs state, as many political prisoners in Belarus have been charged or have already been sentenced to long prison terms under terrorism provisions.

They also call on Belarus to immediately abolish the death penalty in perpetuity.

Finally, MEPs point to the need to strengthen the EU’s cooperation with Belarussian democratic forces, including through regular summits and robust financial aid.