- 14 other high-ranking Belarusian officials were equally slammed by the sanctions including the president's son who is also his national security adviser, Viktor Lukashenko.
- The sanctions are related to "violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, members of the opposition and journalists" after the presidential elections, the EU Council said in a statement.
- The sanctions, which already apply to a total of 59 people, include the ban on traveling to countries in the bloc and the freezing of assets they may have in the EU.
The European Union (EU) on Friday approved sanctions against the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, for having orchestrated fraud in the country’s August 9 presidential elections and for the subsequent repression against peaceful protests and opposition in the country.
In addition to Lukashenko, whose mandate is not recognized by European authorities, 14 other high-ranking Belarusian officials were equally slammed by the sanctions including the president’s son who is also his national security adviser, Viktor Lukashenko.
The sanctions are related to “violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, members of the opposition and journalists” after the presidential elections, the EU Council said in a statement.
The sanctions, which already apply to a total of 59 people, include the ban on traveling to countries in the bloc and the freezing of assets they may have in the EU. In addition, European Union citizens and companies are prohibited from making funds available to those on that list.
On October 12, EU foreign ministers had reached an agreement to impose a second round of sanctions against Belarusian officials responsible for the country’s crisis, including Lukashenko.
Previously, the EU Council had “firmly” condemned the violence employed by Belarusian authorities against people who were protesting peacefully and had shown a willingness to take more restrictive measures against senior officials.
On September 24, European Union head of diplomacy, Josep Borrell, released a statement on behalf of the 27 bloc countries in which he noted that Lukashenko’s alleged “inauguration” and new term after the elections “lacked any democratic legitimacy “.
He also called on the Belarusian authorities to refrain from using repression and violence against citizens again, and to release all detainees, including political prisoners,” immediately and unconditionally. “
About three months ago, protests broke out in the country after the announcement that Lukashenko had won an overwhelming victory in the presidential election and was on his way to remain in power for another five years.
Nicknamed the “last dictator in Europe”, Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994. Opponents say the election was utter fraudulent and in reality, Lukashenko was beaten by a landslide.
The frequent protests since then have been violently suppressed, and thousands of protesters have been arrested. Among the detainees are dozens of journalists. Many of the prisoners have already been released and reported that they were victims of ill-treatment during their detention.
Biden Backs Belarus Opposition.
US president elect Joe Biden while on the campaign trail last months said that Lukashenko is illegitimately in office and expressed his full support for the Belarus opposition in its general strike against the Lukashenko led administration.
Biden thus promised that if he wins the elections, he was planning to “significantly expand” sanctions alongside European allies against “Lukashenko’s henchmen.”
“Although President Trump refuses to speak out on their behalf, I continue to stand with the people of Belarus and support their democratic aspirations,” Biden said in a statement at the time.
“I also condemn the appalling human rights abuses committed by the Lukashenko regime,”
“No leader who tortures his own people can ever claim legitimacy.” Biden added.