Monday 15th November 2021
“Coercion of Vulnerable People”
USA announces sanctions against Belarus
The US accuses Belarus of “continuing attacks on human rights”. In coordination with the EU, they want to initiate punitive measures against Lukashenko’s government. In the meantime, police officers from Poland report that hundreds of migrants tried to break through the border.
The USA has announced new sanctions against Belarus because of the refugee crisis on the border with Poland. The punitive measures in the face of the “inhuman” actions of the government in Minsk would be prepared in “close coordination with the EU and other partners and allies,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price. Meanwhile, the Polish police reported migrants trying to break through the border.
The leadership of ruler Alexander Lukashenko must be held accountable for their “persistent attacks on democracy, human rights and international norms,” said Price. “We condemn their heartless exploitation and coercion of vulnerable people and the inhumane support of illegal flows of refugees across their borders.” Price also referred to the tightening of sanctions against Belarus initiated by the EU foreign ministers.
Thousands of people, especially from the Middle East, are currently stuck in Belarus in icy temperatures on the border with the EU member state Poland. The EU accuses Lukashenko of deliberately smuggling refugees into the EU in order to retaliate against previous sanctions decisions. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Lukashenko about the situation of the refugees in a phone call.
Meanwhile, according to the Polish police, a group of several hundred migrants tried in vain to overcome the border fortifications between Poland and Belarus. Police officers, border guards and soldiers were pelted with stones in the incident near the village of Starzyna, a police spokesman said evening. In contrast, the situation at the Kuznica border crossing, where, according to Polish information, 3,500 migrants had gathered on the Belarusian side during the day, was initially calm in the evening. The refugees had started to set up a tent camp there, wrote the spokesman for the coordinator for secret services, Stanislaw Zaryn, on Twitter.
He also posted pictures showing people in winter jackets as well as tents and sleeping bags under the roof of the border clearance station. Poland’s border guards had previously expressed concern that migrants might try to cross the border by force near Kuznica. The information cannot be independently verified as Poland has declared a state of emergency in the border region. Journalists and helpers are not allowed in. This also applies to the border area on the Belarusian side.