The European Union is to step up sanctions against Belarus in response to an escalating migrant crisis on the border with Poland.
Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell confirmed the move, saying that vulnerable migrants were being exploited in a “hybrid war” that is “intensifying”.
Belarus is accused of pushing migrants towards its borders to undermine security, a charge it denies.
On Monday, hundreds of migrants were blocked at a crossing by Polish troops.
EU foreign ministers held a meeting on Monday and agreed to move ahead with imposing more sanctions on Belarus – the fifth round of such restrictions.
The exact details will by confirmed later this week, but the Belarusian airline Belavia will be affected, with the EU ending its leasing contract with the company. Travel agencies are also expected to be sanctioned if they helped to fly migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere to Minsk.
On Monday, Belarus’s leader, Alexander Lukashenko threatened to retaliate against fresh sanctions. He claimed Belarusian authorities were trying to repatriate stranded migrants but many were refusing to go.