VILNIUS – EU heads of diplomacy have finally unanimously agreed to impose sanctions for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and put him and a number of new people on the sanction list, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius says.
"There was some disagreement on whether to put him (Lukashenko – BNS) on the list or not, and that position is no longer existent as there are no people having doubts on that. Since the decision needs to be made unanimously, we couldn’t do that due to a small number of those against. That's no longer the case now," the minister told BNS.
During its meeting on Monday, the EU Foreign Council also agreed in principle to expand the Belarusian sanction list, apply them to Russia for the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
"We still need to do some technical work to update the list of sanctioned persons in Belarus. Since we had 40 but without Lukashenko, so it's been unanimously agreed that he needs to be on the list. Also, an additional number of officials will be included. It has in principle been agreed to sanction Russia for the Navalny story. It's too early to speak how it's going to look specifically, but the principled decision has been made," Linkevicius said.
The minister also said that the latest mass arrests of protesters in Belarus do not allow speaking about the situation changing of the better.
Belarus has been rocked by mass protests ever since the contested August 9 presidential election when the country's authoritarian leader Lukashenko, ruling the country since 1994, was declared the winner. The country's opposition and Western countries believe the vote was rigged. Mass gathering in the country are being dispersed using force and thousands of people have been detained so far.