The European Union has a knack for being the strict parent in the global family, brandishing its sanctions like a ruler to keep its adversaries in check. From Russia’s aggression in Kyiv to now setting its sights on Belarus, the EU is unyielding in its pursuit of curbing perceived threats to peace and stability. But why has it taken so long for the EU to point its finger at Belarus?
Over the past year and a half, Russia has faced the brunt of EU sanctions for its actions in Kyiv. The situation was grave, and the EU’s response was resolute. However, the latest move to sanction Belarus is intriguing, and some may wonder if it’s a case of too little, too late.
Belarus in the Spotlight
The European Union has recently banned the sale of drones to Belarus in an attempt to starve the Russian war machine of equipment.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s top foreign diplomat, said the measures were taken against “the Belarusian regime as an accomplice in Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine”.
As Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, forged a close alliance with Vladimir Putin, the country became a critical staging post for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And so, it became a major loophole for the Kremlin to bypass the Western sanctions.
The EU’s decision to ban the sale of drones to Belarus is aimed at undermining the Russian war machine by cutting off its equipment supply chain. Additionally, aircraft engines, semiconductors, camera equipment, and firearms, which could potentially find their way to Russia through Minsk, are also on the chopping block.
Wagner Troops on the Move
The urgency to act now stems from the deployment of Wagner troops in Belarus. Wagner, known for its shadowy mercenary operations, poses a new and alarming risk. With these troops stationed near Kyiv, awaiting the nod from Putin, the stakes have risen significantly. Belarus’s proximity to Russia’s nuclear arsenal and military equipment compounds the concern, not just for Ukraine but for many European nations as well. It is no wonder that the EU views this as a pressing threat, hence the swift imposition of sanctions.
The EU’s cautious approach to sanctions involves timing and calculation, aiming to exert pressure without precipitating chaos. When it comes to taking such measures against a country closely aligned with a powerful adversary, the EU must thread the needle carefully.
While it is easy to question why the EU didn’t act sooner, the answer lies in the complexity of international relations. Sanctioning a nation like Belarus, which is tightly enmeshed with Russia, requires thoughtful navigation to avoid triggering potentially disastrous consequences.
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As the situation remains tense and uncertain, the EU is playing a high-stakes game to safeguard its interests and those of its member countries. The EU is all set to continue its stern approach to keep its adversaries in line.