Belarus opposition parties have told euronews that sanctions imposed on Minsk by the EU are not working. Some 200 officials are currently subject to asset freezes and visa bans in response to on-going government repression.The decision by Brussels was taken last month in an attempt to increase pressure on the former soviet republic.
“Concerning the recent political developments, I do not see any move towards democracy except for the release of some political prisoners. But if we talk about the economic impact of these sanctions, they are not visible, in relation to the impact of the economic crisis in the country,” Aliaksandr Chubrik said.
Prominent Belarus’ opposition leader Aliaksandr Milinkevich is against broad economic sanctions. He says many in the country are becoming less pro-European because they believe the measures are hitting ordinary people.
‘‘Official state TV presents it like this: look at the EU - are they our friends? We have difficulties, there is a world crisis, etc….. and on top of that they tighten the screws. Consequently, these sanctions do not work. Did they work in Cuba or Korea?”
Even though the opposition says enough is not being done, EU officials claim the measures are biting.
Michael Mann, spokesperson of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs said:“The fact that a gentleman whose companies have had their assets frozen is now challenging us in court suggests to us that he is very much concerned about the sanctions. And what we have heard from NGOs on the ground is that they are grateful for our sanctions regime and that they are being effective.”
In addition to the travel and asset freeze, the export of arms to Belarus was also banned. In spite of that, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko remains defiant, vowing to crackdown on any opposition.
EU sanctions on Belarus not working, say opposition