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Tensions mount between Belarus, West over migrant crisis on Polish border

Tensions between Belarus and the West have reached an all-time high due to the migrant crisis on the country’s border with Poland.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Belarus declared its independence and has since then been of interest to Russia and Europe due to its geopolitical position.

Criticizing the administration of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, the European Union first suspended bilateral relations and halted international assistance to Belarus in 1997, citing a 1996 referendum that allowed Lukashenko to extend his time in office and expand his powers.

Since then, the US has imposed sanctions against Lukashenko and other state officials at regular intervals.

Relations between Belarus and the EU and US had improved until two years ago as Lukashenko's government loosened some restrictions on political and civil society activity.

Belarus, which is highly dependent on Russia in terms of energy and its economy, drew closer to the West and the West lifted some sanctions as a result.


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