BRUSSELS -- The European Union decided on February 27 to prolong its weapons embargo on Belarus by another year and to leave a visa ban and asset freezes on four Belarusian citizens in place.
EU ministers also decided to introduce an exemption in the arms embargo to allow the export of biathlon equipment to Belarus. The exemption will, however, remain subject to "prior authorization by national competent authorities on a case-by-case basis."
The EU imposed the arms embargo and introduced sanctions against four Belarusian companies and 174 people, including President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, following a violent crackdown on demonstrators after a December 2010 presidential election.
The EU removed the companies and 170 people, including Lukashenka, from the sanctions list in February 2016, citing what it said were improvements in the human rights situation in ex-Soviet republic.
The four people that still remain on the sanctions lists are connected to the unresolved disappearances of two opposition politicians, a businessman, and a journalist in 1999 and in 2000.