EU has prepared a new package of sanctions against Belarus. Last time sanctions were imposed, Ukraine followed.

Despite enormous protests and international pressure, the leadership in Belarus is continuously repressing political opponents, imprisoning protesters and suppressing the media outlets who does not share the views of Lukashenko and his inner circle.Now, the European Union has decided on a new package of sanctions – the 4th package so far – against the Belarusian leadership, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

Previously, Ukraine has been following the EU line on sanctions against Belarus, last time being the sanctions on Belarusian airspace and aircraft following the arrest of opposition activist Roman Pratasevich and the diversion of a Ryanair plane going from Greece to Lithuania.

The sanctions are harder than previous packages trying to “hit the state-affiliated economic sector,” as Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schaller put it in an article from Reuters. So far it seems that the sanctions will target especially the oil industry and the production of fertilizer, which are big industries for Belarus.

Fleeing to Ukraine

The heavy reaction to opposition activities from the Belarusian rulers have been leading a lot of young Belarusians to leave the country. Ukraine has been quite pro-active in attracting the Belarusian minds – especially the Belarusians working in the IT-sector – by easing visa rules and making it easy for Belarusians to work and live in Ukraine.

So far, thousands of Belarusians have been coming to Ukraine, but the majority of political refugees have been going to Poland and Lithuania who are more fervently and openly fighting the Belarusian regime. Most notably, one of the absolute main figures of the opposition fight, Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya, is living in Lithuania, and the government of Lithuania publicly takes a strong stance against Lukashenko and his allies.

The protests started in the spring last year, but following the crackdown after the election, the protest movement has slowly been dwindling in size and numbers. Protests are fewer and smaller, and the regime is cracking down even harder on known opponents than before with more arrests, more sentences and even reports of more torture.