- Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged military support to Belarus president.
- Merkel tried unsuccessfully to contact Alexander Lukashenko
- European Union foreign ministers supported a list of 20 people under which sanctions may be imposed.
The foreign ministers of the European Union countries reached an agreement on the possibility of imposing sanctions on officials in Belarus, rejecting the results of the presidential elections, and calling for Moscow not to intervene. While Merkel tried unsuccessfully to contact Alexander Lukashenko.
“I have heard many times from Russia the mantra that this is a domestic internal affair for Belarus and they do not want external interference. I suppose it’s also valid for themselves,” EU foreign affairs high representative Josep Borrell said at a meeting in Germany.
“It is solely for the Belarusian people to determine their own future. If Russia believes in the independence and sovereignty of a nation-state it will respect the wishes and democratic choices of the Belarusian people.”
And the European Union rejected the official results of the 9th of August elections that took place in Belarus, in which Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected with 80 percent of the vote. The European Union is preparing to impose sanctions on Lukashenko’s regime in response to what it considers voting fraud and the violent security crackdown against opposition protesters.
On Thursday, Putin called the Minsk authorities and the opposition in an effort to find a peaceful “way out” of the crisis, but the Kremlin’s threat of military intervention has raised the possibility of a deterioration of the situation in the country bordering the European Union.
The European Union foreign ministers supported a list of 20 people under which sanctions may be imposed on them, such as freezing their assets and imposing travel bans on them, in response to their supposed role in rigging Belarusian elections or suppressing protesters.
Borrell said that the list may include “personalities at the highest political levels,” but he is unlikely to include Lukashenko himself on it, despite calls by some countries to target him.
Merkel “Tried” To Talk To Lukashenko
The European Union supports the work being undertaken by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to broker a negotiated solution to the crisis, and thus targeting Lukashenko personally may be counterproductive in this context.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried unsuccessfully to contact Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “He refused on his part,” Merkel said on Friday during her traditional summer press conference in Berlin. Merkel justified her attempt by saying that it is important to talk with all parties to the conflict, and she said: “I cannot talk to the Russian president only about Belarus.”
Merkel also spoke at the press conference about her support for the OSCE to assume the role of mediating internal conflict in Belarus, adding that the organization should have the right to communicate with various groups in Belarus, noting that the organization has historically proven its worth in such situations and can now. It plays a “very important role”.