The pressure on Lukashenko and Belarus must be increased

Today, EU foreign ministers are in Berlin to discuss the post-election crisis in Belarus. Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said the EU should now consider whether to increase pressure on Lukashenko.

In light of President Alexander Lukashenko’s ongoing actions against the opposition in Belarus, the EU is looking into an extension of its planned sanctions.

Lukashenko has “intensified repression (…) again in recent days,” Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said Thursday before a meeting with his EU colleagues in Berlin. The EU must now consider whether to step up pressure on Lukashenko and “step up” sanctions.

Alleged mass fraud in the presidential election

The opposition in Belarus has accused the government of massive fraud in the August 9 presidential elections, which according to official information won the incumbent Lukashenko with 80 percent of the vote.

The EU also does not recognize the election results and, as it stands, wants to impose sanctions on 15 to 20 people responsible for electoral manipulation and violence against demonstrators.

The EU Council is currently drawing up a list of those affected against whom entry bans and account freezes should be issued. According to information from EU circles, due to the necessary legal investigations, it may take several weeks for it to take effect. Maas admitted to the meeting of the foreign ministers that the announcement of the sanctions in mid-August “has not led to any behavioral change in Belarus”.

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