VILNIUS – Two Lithuanian MEPs – Stasys Jakeliunas and Viktor Uspaskich – abstained when the European Parliament voted last week on a resolution supporting Belarus' opposition.
Jakeliunas, a MEP for the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, said he did not back the resolution because of its "overly aggressive rhetoric", but added that he does not support the Russian or Belarusian regimes.
"These things are too populist. Also, overly aggressive unbalanced rhetoric can provoke inadequate actions both from Belarus and, especially, from Russia," he told BNS when asked to comment on his decision.
"This doesn't mean I don't support or won't support specific targeted sanctions. I condemn both the Putin regime and the Lukashenko regime, but such declarations, in my opinion, are more likely to do harm than help the EU and Lithuania," he added.
Uspaskich, the Lithuanian Labor Party's leader, said the document was not fully ready for a vote, noting that more than 100 MEPs abstained or voted against it.
"The resolution needs to be crystalized so that it is clear and adopted by a majority or by consensus," he told BNS.
In the resolution passed last Thursday in a vote of 574 votes to 37 with 82 abstentions, the European Parliament says it will not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as Belarus' president once his current term of office expires.
The document also expressed support for the Belarusian opposition, calls for sanctions against Lukashenko and his power structures, as well as against the Belarusian regime’s Russian supporters.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, has faced unprecedented protests after claiming a landslide victory in the August 9 presidential election which the opposition and Western countries say was rigged.