VILNIUS - The European Union "has practically decided" to impose targeted sanctions on Belarusian officials, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said after the bloc's summit on Wednesday.
"Practically, the European Union has decided to apply targeted sanctions against Belarusian officials who were directly involved in the vote-rigging and the repression of peaceful people in Belarus," he told a news conference.
Sanctions on these officials will be imposed "in the near future", he added.
According to Nauseda, EU leaders were united in their assessment of the situation in Belarus.
"I have to admit and state with great satisfaction that we spoke with one voice and took a principled stance on the developments in Belarus," he said. "All of my colleagues agreed that the (presidential) election was rigged and not free and that its outcome can't be recognized as legitimate."
"Lithuania's name was mentioned numerous times" during the video summit and the country was thanked for its leadership, Nauseda noted.
The president underlined that no country has the right to interfere in Belarus' internal politics.
"It was also said that Russia – like the EU, by the way – doesn't have the right to interfere in Belarus' internal processes," Nauseda said. "We must create conditions for a peaceful dialog, but not intervene in Belarus' internal life."
"These fundamental values ??must be respected, otherwise one or the other side will always be able to question the results of a dialogue that didn't take place through the efforts of Belarusian society itself," he added.
The parliaments and leaders of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland have denounced the vote-rigging and violence against protestors in Belarus, and have supported sanctions against the Minsk regime responsible for these actions.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Belarus after Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the August 9 presidential election.
Around 7,000 people were arrested in a police crackdown on protestors. Some detainees said they had been tortured in jail. Three deaths have been confirmed.