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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting with members of the Council of Ministers and Security Council in Minsk on March 1.BELTA/Reuters

European Union diplomats have approved new sanctions against Belarus for its supporting role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU said on Wednesday, including a ban on exporting machinery to Minsk.

The fresh sanctions, which have not been published yet and, for now, spare Belarusian banks, come after Minsk allowed Russian troops to move into Ukraine from its territory.

The French Presidency of the EU said on Twitter the measures will include fresh economic sanctions and new listings of Belarusian officials and military involved in the aggression against Ukraine.

They will hit “some economic sectors, and in particular timber, steel and potash,” it said in a statement.

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An EU official told Reuters that sanctions would include an import ban on several commodities, including mineral fuels, a ban on the export of EU machinery to Belarus, and other export control measures.

Unlike Russian lenders, Belarusian banks have not been excluded yet from the SWIFT international payments system, the official said, adding that “will come”.

The fresh measures come on top of those already imposed by the EU after President Alexander Lukashenko crushed protests following elections in August 2020.

Lukashenko himself is already subject to EU sanctions.

The latest measures “will be published in the Official Journal of the EU for entry into force,” the presidency said in its statement, without indicating the exact timing of the publication.

Some of the sanctions are expected to close loopholes of existing restrictive measures, in particular on Belarus’ sale of potash, a fertilizer made of potassium and a key export.

The EU is already banning Belarus’ exports of potash, but diplomats said Minsk has been able to export potash to the EU via third countries.

The new sanctions will make that impossible, the official said.

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