UK imposes sanctions on Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, His son and six senior government officials were convicted of rigging the August presidential election and cracking down on subsequent street protests.
Foreign Secretary, Dominic Rob, In conjunction with a similar move from Canada, announced sanctions on Tuesday. “We will hold those responsible for the bombings against the Belarusian people accountable and support our values of democracy and human rights,” he said.
Sanctions include a property freeze and a travel ban imposed on Lukashenko. This is the first time since Brexit that Britain has imposed new sanctions. Other targets include Lukashenko’s son Victor and the head of the presidential administration, Igor Serzhenko.
The Foreign Office said: “Alexander Lukashenko’s rule is a continuation of opposition figures, the media and human rights abuses against the people. Belarus Following the tough elections. Despite numerous calls from the international community, he refused to engage in dialogue with the opposition and instead chose to redouble his violent repression. ”
The report added: “These sanctions are aimed at torturing and abusing hundreds of peaceful detainees detained following the fraudulent presidential election. Belarusian authorities have not taken any action to hold those responsible accountable. Several opposition figures have been arrested or forcibly deported and denied entry, in a clear demonstration of Lukashenko’s negotiations with the opposition and his hatred of basic human rights. ”
The move comes amid pressure from Lithuania and Poland, two of the EU’s most supportive of the protests, but it is not yet clear whether the US is taking the same steps.
More than 12,000 people have been arrested since Lukashenko was notified The landslide winner in the August 9 election The opposition condemned the fraud. Government officials barred British embassy observers from watching the referendum.
The British-Canadian decision was announced shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Lithuania, where he met with opposition leader Svetlana Dikanovskaya. Europe As the formal leader of Belarus.
Dikanovskaya, who was deported to Lithuania under Lukashenko’s pressure, said after meeting Macron that he would help negotiate the release of prisoners in Belarus.
Macron’s meeting is a show of solidarity as the EU cannot reach a joint agreement on sanctions against Belarus. Cyprus It said the action was veto Until the EU agrees to impose sanctions on Turkey as part of a separate controversy over the rights to drill in the gas fields of the eastern Mediterranean.
EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borel has expressed deep personal frustration over the EU’s inability to show rapid solidarity with the Belarusian opposition. The fact that England and Canada were able to function will not be lost on him. Doubts also arise as to whether Germany wants to impose sanctions on the president on the grounds that it could close an opportunity for debate.
The meeting between Macron and Dikanovskaya comes two days after tens of thousands of people Took to the streets of Belarus The latest in a series of protests demanding Lukashenko’s resignation.
The demonstrations – mostly led by women – were the largest in the history of the former Soviet state’s independence.
Macron has argued for a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Putin’s support for Lukashenko has weakened his efforts.
“Time is of the essence, many people find themselves in prison, and he will do everything he can to free all political prisoners,” said Tiknovskaya Macron.