EU foreign affairs ministers extended on Monday the bloc’s sanctions lists against Belarus.

The new decision ordered restrictive measures of asset freeze and travel ban for 78 new people and eight entities, bringing the total number of targeted Belarussian individuals to 166, and sanctioned entities to 15, the Council of the European Union representing the bloc’s governments announced.

The sanction list was extended in response to “the escalation of serious human rights violations in Belarus and the violent repression of civil society, democratic opposition and journalists,” their press statement said.

The document also explained that the bloc wished to “send a further strong signal to the backers of the regime, that their continued support for (Belarusian President) Alexander Lukashenko comes at a substantial cost.”

“The goal of these sanctions is to put pressure on the Belarusian political leadership to initiate a genuine and inclusive national dialogue with broader society and to avoid further repression,” the statement said.

Seven individuals and one entity subject were added to the sanctions list because of the forced landing of the Ryanair flight to Minsk and the detention of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich and his partner.

Following the incident, the bloc also prohibited the overflight of EU airspace and access to EU airports for all Belarusian aircraft earlier this month.

The European Union did not recognize the results of last year’s presidential elections and condemned the violence against protesters.

The bloc has been sanctioning Belarus over human rights violations since October.

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