RIGA - The European Union (EU) must impose sanctions against the Belarusian regime, while trying not to impact ordinary people as much as possible, Rihards Kols (National Alliance), Chairman of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview with Latvian Television this morning.
The politician acknowledged that the EU sanctioning process is slower than decisions related to airspace closures. Targeted sanctions must be a joint EU decision, affecting those areas that impact the wealth of the Minsk regime but are less ''hurtful'' to the Belarusian people.
Russia's interests should also be taken into account. Kols said Russia could benefit from some EU sanctions by trying to take over certain Belarusian companies that Russian oligarchs have shown interest in so far. Such companies include potassium processing plants. It must also be understood that Russia, once again receiving a request for assistance from Belarus, could demand something in return.
For the time being, it is difficult to judge what sanctions could be imposed on Belarus, because a number of factors must be taken into account. That is why Kols hopes that there are people in the EU who are well acquainted with the people and companies close to Alexander Lukashenko who are helping to maintain the regime.
"Sanctions are needed, but we must avoid shooting a cannon at a sparrow. It must be taken into account that some sanctions may lead to a situation that progresses the takeover of local companies by Russian oligarchs. These risks must be assessed by the EU," Kols said.
In the context of the possible negative impact of sanctions on the Latvian economy, Kols said that Belarus and Russia are unstable markets and that those wishing to operate in these markets must assess the risks.