Isolation of Belarus from the rest of Europe will only push it deeper into Russia's arms - Dombrava

  • 2020-08-13
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The isolation of Belarus from the rest of Europe will only push it deeper into Russia's arms, the deputy head of the National Alliance's group at Saeima Janis Dombrava believes.

Dombrava told LETA that the most important thing in the current situation is to end the violence and respect the wishes of society in Belarus, but how this can be achieved by the West is a matter for discussion.

He said that several options were being discussed, such as sanctions against certain Belarusian officials, economic sanctions against Belarus, as well as non-recognition of the election results.

"These are all versions, but the primary version remains in the hands of the Belarusian people themselves. Not recognizing the election results is a decision that can be taken by all other European countries, but what will be the situation in Belarus afterwards if the current president will remain in office, which will likely happen whatever the European Union (EU) decides. Rather, this is a question of what to do next if the EU does not recognize the elections," said the politician.

"I do not know whether the people of Belarus will benefit if there is no real change, so every step must be carefully considered. It must be remembered that Belarus is a country that Russia considers in its sphere of interest, so any attempt to isolate Belarus from the rest Europe will only drive Belarus deeper into Russia's arms," Dombrava predicted.

In his opinion, Latvia would not benefit of the introduction of economic sanctions against the neighboring country, as it will also affect the Latvian economy.

The AFP news agency reports that Belarus on Wednesday confirmed the death of a jailed protester after police violently cracked down on demonstrations over disputed presidential polls.

The riot police have arrested thousands in street clashes across the country after long-serving leader Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in Sunday polls.

The strongman's opponents accuse him of rigging the election where his main rival was a massively popular opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

The Belarusian Investigative Committee said in a statement that a 25-year-old man died after he was detained on Sunday in the southeastern city of Gomel and sentenced to 10 days in prison for taking part in illegal protests.

Investigators said the cause of death was unclear, while Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty earlier quoted the man's mother as saying he had heart problems and was held for hours in a police van.

The latest death came as opposition protesters took to the streets to condemn police violence.

The protests broke out after authorities said Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, won 80 percent of the vote in Sunday's polls.