In connection with the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the country will retain sanctions against Belarus, according to the website of the British government.
The government notes that it is intended to ensure that sanctions against Belarus, which are currently in force under EU legislation, continue to operate effectively after the UK leaves the EU.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 January 2020, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal was backed by MPs. Sanction measures are aimed at encouraging the government of Belarus to:
- respect democratic principles and institutions and the separation of powers and the rule of law in Belarus
- refrain from actions, policies or activities which repress civil society in Belarus
- properly investigate and institute criminal proceedings against the persons responsible for the disappearances of Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, Anatol Krasouski and Dzmitry Zavadski
- comply with international human rights law
- and respect human rights
When these regulations come into force they will replace, with substantially the same effect, relevant existing EU legislation and related UK regulations.
Recall that in 2019, the EU prolonged arms embargo against Belarus and sanctions on four Belarusians were prolonged for one year. It was prolonged annually since its introduction in 2011. The restrictive measures include an embargo on arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression. Besides, four people remain in the EU visa-ban and asset-freeze blacklist.
Among them are Vladimir Naumov (ex-interior minister), Viktor Sheiman (former head of the Presidential Administration), Yuri Sivakov (former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during the disappearances of 1999-2000) and Dmitri Pavlichenko (a commander of a special forces brigade in the Ministry of Internal Affairs).
Brussels suspects them of being involved in the disappearances of former Interior Minister Yuri Zakharenko, politician Viktor Gonchar, businessman Anatoly Krasovsky and journalist Dmitry Zavadsky in 1999-2000.