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BRUSSELS: The European Union on Wednesday imposed sanctions on 22 senior Belarusian military officers over Minsk's role in aiding Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The six generals and 16 colonels were added to the EU blacklist because "Belarus is participating in a Russian unprovoked invasion against Ukraine by allowing military aggression from its territory," the official sanction document said.

The blacklist bans travel into the bloc and imposes asset freezes.

Russia's military has used Belarus as a launch pad for its ground and air assault on Ukraine.

Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday his forces were not taking part in the attack on Ukraine but ordered more soldiers to his country's borders with Ukraine and Poland.

Last week, the European Union blacklisted 20 Belarusian borders guards, officers and officials along with a raft of high-ranking Russians over the assault on Ukraine.

EU excludes 7 Russian banks from SWIFT under sanctions

The European Union is also poised to strengthen sweeping economic sanctions against Belarus, first imposed last June in a response to a crackdown on opponents and the forced landing of a passenger plane to arrest a dissident journalist.

Those measures target some of the country's key exports to the bloc including potash fertiliser.

The EU has hit Belarus with successive waves of sanctions since Lukashenko launched a brutal campaign of repression against demonstrators protesting a disputed election in 2020.

Lukashenko has become increasingly reliant on Russian President Vladimir Putin in the face of the international isolation and recently oversaw changes to the constitution that could allow Moscow to station troops and nuclear weapons permanently in the country.

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