The European Union is preparing to widen sanctions on Belarus as a migration crisis deepens along its border with Poland. Foreign ministers from the EU’s 27 member states were expected to approve the measures during a meeting in Brussels on Monday. The sanctions may also target airlines and travel agents involved in transporting migrants and refugees to Belarus.
Thousands of people remain stranded in freezing conditions on both sides of the Belarus-Poland border. They are being barred from entering the bloc as a geopolitical dispute between the West and Minsk rages.
Poland and other EU member states have for months accused Belarus of encouraging people to try and cross the Polish border in revenge for an earlier round of Western sanctions on Minsk over a disputed August 2020 election which handed longtime President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term and provoked mass anti-government protests. Minsk denies those charges and has threatened to retaliate against any new measures, including by shutting down the flow of Russian gas supplies to Europe via pipelines that go through Belarusian territory.