EU presidency says it may sanction Belarus next over its role in Ukraine war

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The Czech prime minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said Tuesday the bloc may look at further sanctions on Belarus over its role in the war in Ukraine.

Minsk allows Russian troops to be stationed on Belarusian territory and stage attacks on Ukraine from there, although it insists it does not want to join the war directly.

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“We are now looking at... the role of Belarus and the potential need to target it,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told reporters after returning from Kyiv where members of his cabinet joined him in talks with Ukrainian counterparts.

“Certain sanctions against Belarus are already in place, but we can't have Belarus joining Russia’s policy or Russia avoiding the impact of sanctions through countries such as Belarus,” he added.

“We must realize that the attacks on Ukraine are led out of the Belarusian airspace and that Belarus supplies weapons to Russia,” said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky.

The EU has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russian industry and individuals since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, but Fiala called for Russia to be “increasingly isolated.”

“We know the sanctions work, we can see that from lots of data, and we undoubtedly need to continue.”

Last month, Minsk and Moscow announced a joint force to defend Belarusian borders, while Ukraine warned Russian aviation units were deploying to Belarusian bases on its border.

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