Hungarian Foreign Ministry Confirms It Issued Special Visa to Belarusian Regime Linked Official

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry admitted having issued a special visa to a Belarusian sports official, enabling him to travel to the Czech Republic after being expelled from this country for not respecting COVID-19 protocols.

Such a move conflicts with the EU’s decision to halt the visa facilitation agreement for officials linked to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, who has served as the President of Belarus for almost three decades and with whom Viktor Organ, the Hungarian Prime Minister, has maintained a friendly relation.

Furthermore, the Belarus sports official, Uladzimer Bazanau, and his wife were stopped in Opava, the Czech city, before the World Cup qualifier took place between the Belarusian women’s national soccer team and the Czech women’s team, which was later cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19 infection in the Belarussian team. Bazanau is on the sanctions list of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as Czechia, reports.

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL that it issued Bazanau a 90-day Schengen visa on behalf of Switzerland and that the official had an invitation from UEFA, European sports authority. Swiss officials are yet to comment on the matter.

>> EU Introduces New Measures to Tighten Controls at EU’s External Borders With Belarus

The new sanctions imposed by the 27-nation-bloc earlier this month targeted 17 individuals and 11 entities due to the crisis at the EU’s eastern border and were announced in a publication later on December 8 in the bloc’s Official Journal. So far, the EU has targeted 183 Belarusian individuals and 26 entities with sanctions.

The United Kingdom, United States, and Canada have also imposed punishing measures on Belarus officials, including a complete asset freeze on potash fertilizer OJSC Belaruskali.

At present, the bloc is dealing with a migration crisis in the Eastern border, including Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus, with the latter admitting migrants in the country and then pushing them towards neighbouring countries, specifically Poland. Such an act has left several people frozen to death, as they have spent days stuck in the forests of borders between Poland and Belarus.

In response, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has called for additional sanctions for Belarus airlines, as 1,000 migrants were stuck at the border under Lukashenko’s orders.

In addition, the Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang previously shared that migrants’ document papers were found at the border with Poland, where they stayed for weeks, implying that migrants were brought to Belarus under false promises of local travel agencies, implying the newcomers would be able to easily arrive at Western Europe countries.

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