Embargoes and sanctions on Belarus

Information on embargoes on, and how to apply for an export licence to, Belarus

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

The regulations in this guidance would be affected.

Find out about the new regulations that would come into effect under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the Sanctions Act).


An EU-imposed arms embargo on Belarus came into force on 22 June 2011. There is also an EU-imposed travel ban and an asset freeze on specified Belarusian officials.

For more general information read the Sanctions, embargoes and restrictions guide, and a list of all the countries where there are current restrictions.

Export control updates

If you intend to export to Belarus, you should keep yourself well informed of the current situation through the media and other information channels.

Subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters to keep informed of latest updates about arms embargoes and changes to strategic export control legislation.

Extent of the arms embargo on Belarus

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of ‘arms and related material’ (ie military ammunition, weapons and goods). This can be put in place by either the UN, the EU, Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe or at a UK national level.

The UK interprets an arms embargo as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List (which forms part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists), unless stated otherwise.

Some goods which are not on the UK Military List might also need an export licence. See the guide on Military End-Use control.

The specific measures adopted by the EU in the sanctions imposed on Belarus in June 2011 comprise the following:

  • a prohibition on the sale, supply, transfer or export, either directly or indirectly, of ‘arms and related material of all types’.
  • a prohibition on the sale, supply, transfer or export, either directly or indirectly, of a list of equipment which might be used for internal repression as set out in Annex III of Council Regulation (EU) 588/2011.
  • a prohibition on the provision, directly or indirectly, of technical assistance, financing or financial assistance or of brokering services related to items listed on either the UK Military List or in Annex III of the Regulation.

There are limited exemptions to these prohibitions - for example, for goods intended solely for humanitarian purposes or protective use by EU or UN personnel.

The EU have also previously imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze on President Lukashenko and certain named Belarusian officials.

Apply for an export licence to Belarus

All applications will be considered by the government on a case-by-case basis in relation to the terms of the embargo and in line with the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Read the guide on assessment of export licence applications - criteria and policy.

Export licences will not be issued unless they fit one of the exemptions set out in the embargo, such as export for humanitarian use or for use of UN personnel.

When applying for a licence, you should be aware of the current licence processing times by destination. You can view details of licensing statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics pages. 

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. For more information, see the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

Belarus arms embargo: key legislation

The arms embargo on Belarus has been imposed by EU laws, and implemented in the UK by statutory instruments.

UN Security Council resolutions

There are currently no UN Security Council resolutions on Belarus.

EU legislation

In response to the deterioration of human rights and brutal crackdown on dissent, following the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in December 2010, the EU has imposed toughened sanctions on Belarus, including an arms embargo.

The sanctions are detailed in Council Decision 2011/357/CFSP (published in the Official Journal of the European Union L161, 21.6.2011, p25) and Council Regulation (EU) No 588/2011 (published in the Official Journal of the European Union L161, 21.6.2011, p1).

These measures also amend previous Council Decision 2010/639/CFSP and Council Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 which imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze on President Lukashenko and certain named Belarusian officials.

On 27 February 2016, the EU extended the arms embargo until 28 February 2017. See: the Council Decision, Council Implementing Regulation, and Council Regulation.

UK legislation

The relevant UK laws that apply to the arms embargo on Belarus are the:

For more information, see the guide on the Export Control Order 2008.

Financial sanctions

Belarus is currently subject to financial sanctions.

You can view a current list of asset freeze targets designated by the United Nations (UN), European Union and United Kingdom, under legislation relating to Belarus.

Further information

ECJU helpline 020 7215 4594, email

Country profiles on the Department for International Trade (DIT) website

Current UK financial sanctions explained on the HM Treasury website

Published 10 August 2012
Last updated 3 March 2016 + show all updates
  1. EU arms embargo on Belarus extended until 28 February 2017.
  2. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK
  3. First published.