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Poland sanctions 365 Belarusians over jailing of journalist: interior minister

29.05.2023 18:30
Poland has imposed sanctions on 365 Belarusians over Minsk's imprisonment of a Polish journalist on politically motivated charges, the Polish interior minister said on Monday.
Polands Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński.
Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński.PAP/Albert Zawada

Mariusz Kamiński announced the decision via Twitter, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

It came amid rising tensions between Warsaw and Minsk, the Reuters news agency noted.

Kamiński said: “As indicated earlier, I have decided to enter 365 Belarusian citizens into the sanctions list and to freeze the financial and economic resources of 20 entities and 16 other people with links to Russian capital.”  

MPs, judges, prosecutors, law enforcers

The Polish interior ministry said in a statement that Kamiński "decided to add 365 Belarusian citizens to the list of foreigners whose stay in Poland is undesirable" in response to "the upholding of the draconian verdict against Andrzej Poczobut" and "the repression of political opponents" by the Belarusian authorities.

The sanctioned individuals are banned from entering the European Union's passport-free Schengen zone and will have any funds held in Poland frozen, Reuters reported.

Those on the list include members of parliament, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers as well as people who work in state media, the Polish interior ministry said.

Twenty entities and 16 people associated mainly with Russian capital will also have any financial holdings frozen, according to the statement.

Monday’s move by Warsaw comes in response to a ruling by the Belarusian Supreme Court, which on Friday upheld the sentencing of Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish-Belarusian journalist and activist, to eight years in “a maximum security penal colony” in what was widely seen as a politically motivated case, news outlets reported.

Poland closes border with Belarus

After the Belarusian Supreme Court on Friday upheld the verdict against Poczobut, a draft regulation appeared on a Polish government website announcing the closure of Poland's eastern border to freight vehicles registered in Belarus and Russia from June 1 until further notice.

The 365 Belarusians added to Poland’s sanctions list on Monday include 159 lawmakers, 76 judges and seven prosecutors, among other officials, the PAP news agency reported.

The Polish interior interior ministry’s sanctions list comprises people and entities who support, directly or indirectly, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine as well as human rights abuses and repression in Russia and Belarus, according to officials. 

Poland has been an important refuge for opponents of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, and Warsaw has become one of Kyiv's most steadfast supporters since Belarus' ally Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, Reuters reported.

It noted that Poland accuses Belarus of artificially creating a migrant crisis on the border by flying in people from the Middle East and Africa and attempting to push them across the frontier.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Monday is day 460 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, gov.pl