European leaders on Wednesday announced the imminent implementation of sanctions against a “significant” number of Belarusian officials following the repression and violence suffered by protesters in Belarus.
The pressure is mounting on Alexander Lukashenko. The European Union does not recognize the re-election of the Belarussian president and will sanction “soon” a “significant” number responsible for electoral fraud and the violence that followed the vote, announced on Wednesday 19 August the President of the European Council, Charles. Michel, at the end of an extraordinary video conference summit.
The presidential election “was neither free nor fair and the EU does not recognize the result”, said Charles Michel. For his part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately expressed her support for the Belarusian protesters. “We have no doubt that there was massive fraud during the presidential election,” she said, adding that for the EU, “it is clear that Belarus must find its own way. This must be done through dialogue and no external intervention”. .
Minutes earlier, the Belarussian head of state had ordered the government to prevent unrest in the country and tighten border controls. The president thus wants “to prevent militants, weapons, ammunition or money coming from other countries from entering Belarus to finance the riots”.
The day before, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel had exchanged with Vladimir Putin about his ally, Alexander Lukashenko. Europeans’ goal: to promote a dialogue with the opposition protesting against the results of the presidential election.
Since her exile in Lithuania, the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has called on the European Union to show firmness and to reject the results of the “fraudulent” presidential election on 9 August. “I beg you not to acknowledge these fraudulent choices. Lukashenko has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of our nations and the world,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said in English in a video addressed to the Council of Europe and published on YouTube.
On Tuesday night, several thousand protesters gathered again in the Independence Square in Minsk, waving the red and white flags of the opposition and demanding the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko, who claims to have won 80% of the vote.