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EU to widen sanctions against Belarus amid migrant crisis

The European Union will expand sanctions against Belarus at the beginning of next week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday as the bloc accuses Minsk of forcing thousands of migrants toward its border.

The new sanctions will not just include individuals, but entities as well, and von der Leyen said the US has prepared its own list of economic blacklistings that will be unveiled at the start of December.

"It’s important that we talk to the countries where the migrants are coming from. And we work on sanctions against countries who are part of the dirty activities of Belarus,” she said.

Von der Leyen made the announcement at the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden behind closed doors in a tete-a-tete that touched on "pressing international topics," according to von der Leyen.

Poland and the EU have accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of trying to retaliate against EU sanctions by deliberately inviting and forcing migrants toward the Polish border.

EU countries bordering Belarus -- Lithuania, Latvia and Poland -- have reported a dramatic spike in the number of irregular crossings since August.

NATO and the EU consider Belarus’ approach toward migrants an effort to destabilize and undermine security in the bloc through non-military means.


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