News Desk World

Sat 03 October 2020:

The United States and EU on October 2 slapped sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for fraud in the August presidential election and a brutal crackdown on protesters and opposition members, drawing a sharp response from Belarus and its ally Russia.

Belarus immediately retaliated with its own list of people barred from entering the country, accusing the European Union of imposing the “punitive measure” on Belarus because it “did not comply with a set of ultimatum requirements that no self-respecting sovereign state would satisfy.”

In a coordinated move, the United States slapped sanctions on eight Belarusian officials, including the interior minister, the Treasury Department said.

The US sanctions target individuals accused of involvement “in the 2020 election falsification and human rights violations,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will continue to demand accountability from the Belarusian government for its suppression of democracy, including from those Belarusian officials designated today and the 16 who remain sanctioned,” the top diplomat said.

“Today’s coordinated action with The European Union demonstrates our strong and continuing commitment to the Belarusian people, who are peacefully demanding their voices be heard, as well as their right to select a leader through free and fair elections,” he added.

“The Belarusian people’s democratic aspirations to choose their own leaders and peacefully exercise their rights have been met with violence and oppression from Belarusian officials,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The United States and our international partners stand united in imposing costs on those who have undermined Belarusian democracy for years.”

Britain and Canada have already sanctioned Belarus officials, including Lukashenka.

A German government spokeswoman earlier said that Merkel will meet with Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Berlin on October 6, a week after the Belarusian opposition leader held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Vilnius.

Tsikhanouskaya, whose supporters say won the presidential election, took refuge in neighboring Lithuania following the vote. She announced on September 30 she has begun creating a shadow cabinet, saying “Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime is not just illegitimate, but also is not capable of carrying out its duties.”

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