EU imposes broad economic sanctions on Belarus over Ryanair incident

EU imposes broad economic sanctions on Belarus over Ryanair incident

The European Union imposed wide-ranging economic sanctions on Belarus for the first time on Thursday, targeting its main export industries and access to finance a month after it forced a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk, Reuters reports.

The measures include banning EU businesses from importing goods or doing business with Belarusian companies in sectors including banking, petroleum products and potash, a salt used in fertiliser that is the country's main export.

The sanctions are far stricter than measures imposed in the past, which mainly consisted of blacklists of Belarusian officials and had little or no impact on the behaviour of President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994.

In the most significant measure for the Belarusian economy, the new sanctions ban EU companies from transporting potash. Belarus will now need to find other countries and ports to ship its top export via the Baltic Sea.

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