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NHC Senior Advisor: European Politicians Were Ashamed When We Published Our Report

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NHC Senior Advisor: European Politicians Were Ashamed When We Published Our Report

Is the West ready to fight the circumvention of the Russian sanctions?

Why is it possible to violate sanctions against Russia imposed by the West? What role does the Lukashenka regime play? Which European countries were the leaders in violating the restrictive measures?

Experts from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with Corisk risk analysis company, Wikborg Rein law firm and The Rud Pedersen Group European consulting agency answer these questions in their report.

The experts provided the report to the European Belarus Civil Campaign to be translated from English into Russian.

Charter97.org asked Ivar Dale, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), to comment on the report of the expert group.

– Having done such a great job, did you answer the question for yourself: are sanctions an effective tool for putting pressure on the Russian regime?

– Yes, of course. We concluded that sanctions are effective, and can become even more effective if Western countries closely monitor those companies that use "holes" in the bureaucracy to sell sanctioned goods to Russia.

Here we are talking more about weapons and goods that help, even are necessary for the continuation of Russia's war against Ukraine.

It is impossible for the West to simultaneously help Ukraine confront Russia, but at the same time circumvent its own sanctions.

The CIS countries mustn't become transit zones for immoral Europeans and Putin. We also met with representatives of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to hear their opinions on this topic. In general, everyone works against this practice, but there are still examples when this happens. However, the West is still the source of these goods.

– "Sanctions do not work at all" is a very popular rhetoric today (it can also be heard from the Western media). Could this be an element of Russian propaganda?

– Naturally. It is worth reading a few tweets by the Russian Foreign Ministry. There's even a separate topic about failed sanctions. Serious analysis shows the opposite. The main thing is that we all know where sanctions do not work, and we improve the system.

– The report also reads a lot about the Lukashenka regime. What steps should the West take to exclude Belarus from schemes to circumvent the Russian sanctions?

– You can meet with the authorities of the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus and talk at various conferences. Even we as NGOs can go to the embassy and ask questions. They are interested in peaceful relations with Russia, but fully understand the situation in Ukraine. After all, they can also become victims of the Russian invasion. Unfortunately, this is impossible with Lukashenka or representatives of official Belarus.

– Does the West have the political will to work on the harmonization of the sanctions regime and its strengthening?

– It quickly became clear that there was interest when we started visiting Western offices with our investigation. Everyone is ashamed, no one wants to be associated with such "deeds" as circumventing the sanctions. Everyone knows what is happening in Ukraine. European politicians know many Ukrainians.

The EU has now launched a website where you can anonymously report on the facts of sanctions violations by European businesses.

– The report has a very interesting conclusion: circumvention or assistance in circumventing the Russian sanctions can be considered as complicity in committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine. In your opinion, what is the likelihood that such trials will take place in the future?

– We talked to lawyers about the violation of sanctions and making money on the tragedy of Ukrainians – it is not just shameful, but also criminal.

Of course, some didn't know the rules in the early days. And now few people can say that they have not heard of them. And then there is an intention in these actions. That's more severe.

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