Sanctions must be extended to the Lukashenko regime in Belarus over its support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Barry Ward, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, said, “We know that Alexander Lukashenko has facilitated the crossing and deployment of Russian planes and troops through Belarusian airspace and territory. He is collaborating with Vladimir Putin in his illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, and any sanctions that are placed on Russia must be extended to the Belarusian regime.
“Countries such as the US have included sanctions on Belarus in their targeted efforts to deescalate the situation in Ukraine. According to the US Treasury Department, they have targeted two state-owned banks, as well as a number of Belarusian entities and individuals in the defense and security industries.
“Belarus is complicit in Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, and Ireland and the EU must take every action possible to send a strong message of condemnation to the Lukashenko regime.
“While there are sanctions on Belarus already in place at an EU level, these must be extended to match those imposed on Russia given the severity of the situation.
“Last year, the Seanad passed a motion that I proposed which unanimously acknowledged the lack of fairness and transparency in the 2020 Belarusian Presidential election and rejected the democratic legitimacy of Alexander Lukashenko. The motion received unanimous support from all parties at the time.
“As I said then, it is important that the Oireachtas speak with one voice in condemning the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the lack of democratic legitimacy of that regime and the need for change in that jurisdiction.
“Given the evolving situation in Eastern Europe, never has it been more important to be unequivocal in our opposition to the Lukashenko regime and the role it is playing in the invasion of Ukraine”, concluded Senator Ward.