Fact Check: Latvia Has NOT Lifted Trade Restrictions Against Belarus


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Latvia Has NOT Lifted Trade Restrictions Against Belarus Tightened

Has the Latvian government lifted the sanctions the European Union imposed on Russia's ally Belarus after Russia's invasion of Ukraine? No, that's not true: Not only has no such official announcement been made but new restrictions were imposed.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by sotniktiktok on January 28, 2024. The text overlay (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Latvia has lifted the sanctions against Belarus. More than half of Latvian companies have resumed the supply of goods such as electrical equipment and appliances, car spare parts and luxury goods to Belarus and Russia. The directors of the companies justified this decision by stating that exports will continue - directly or indirectly.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 10.27.51 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jan 30 08:28:28 2024 UTC)

The EU has imposed sanctions against Belarus (archived here) since October 2020. On January 25, 2024, Lithuanian Deputy Director General for Customs Affairs Raimonds Zukuls said in an interview (archived here) on the Lithuanian website LSM.lv that the State Tax Service has registered more than 250 criminal proceedings involving the smuggling of goods since the introduction of sanctions against Belarus and Russia (automatically translated from Lithuanian to English). The most smuggled sanctioned goods included (archived here) electrical goods, electrical appliances, network equipment, car parts and luxury goods. Zukuls also said (as translated) that the smuggling of electrical appliances, spare car parts and luxury goods from Latvia to Russia and Belarus was largely stopped (archived here).

To increase the effectiveness of the sanctions, the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have issued (archived here) a joint declaration on a common approach to the implementation of sanctions against Russia and Belarus, with the aim (automatically translated) "that the authorities of the Baltic States that carry out customs controls agree on a uniform approach in cases where the transport route of the goods appears illogical and raises suspicions of circumvention of sanctions."

On January 29, 2024, the Latvian ruling coalition decided (archived here) to impose an embargo on the import of Russian and Belarusian grain into Latvia and called on other European Union countries to follow suit.

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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