Germany supports 'expanding' sanctions against Belarus ahead of EU summit

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Aug 17, 2020, 03:31 PM(IST)

People attend a rally in support of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko near the Government House in Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus August 16, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

EU ministers had recently made a list of targets in Belarus to impose sanctions on them

Germany on Monday said that the country is ready to expand European Union sanctions against Belarus as a bloody crackdown continues in the country. 

EU ministers had recently made a list of targets in Belarus to impose sanctions on them. Germany’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that even stronger measures are needed.

Also read: Lukashenko says he is ready to share power in Belarus as protests mount

"Of course we are looking at the option of expanding the sanctions to other leading figures,"  Seibert said.

Leaders of the European Union will hold an emergency video summit on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Belarus, where protests continue to intensify against the reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko.

"The people of Belarus have the right to decide on their future and freely elect their leader. Violence against protesters is unacceptable and cannot be allowed," EU Council President Charles Michel tweeted.

Russia offers support

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in a phone call on Sunday that Moscow stood ready to provide help under a collective military pact if necessary, Reuters report said quoting the Kremlin statement.

Also read: Belarusian opposition politician Tsikhanouskaya says she is ready to lead nation

The Kremlin said in the same statement that external pressure was being applied to Belarus.

Belarus has been rocked by a week of street protests after protesters accused Lukashenko of rigging a presidential election last Sunday.

Ties between the two traditional allies had been under strain in the run up to the election, as Russia scaled back the subsidies that propped up Lukashenko's government. 

Russia sees Belarus as a strategic buffer against NATO and the European Union.

Accused of rigging last Sunday's election, Lukashenko had earlier appealed to Putin for help as he grapples with the biggest challenge to his 26-year rule and the threat of new Western sanctions.

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