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EU sources say sanctions pending for Lukashenko

November 4, 2020

Brussels sources say the EU is moving to sanction Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and 14 others held responsible for post-election repression.

Former Head of the Minsk Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs Ivan Kubrakov
Image: Nikolai Petrov/picture alliance/dpa

Also targeted would be Lukashenko's son Viktor, who currently acts as national security adviser, the presidential administration head Igor Sergeenko and Belarus' KGB intelligence chief Ivan Tertel, reported the news agency AFP.

Representatives of the EU's 27 member states had agreed Wednesday to initiate a procedure to sanction — to be implemented on Friday once all states had finalized it in writing, said the German news agency DPA, also citing diplomats.

Already in October, EU foreign ministers had signaled Lukashenko would be added to the bloc's sanctions list if no improvement were seen in Belarus, where his security forces have cracked down on mass protests for three months.

Read more: Belarus protesters face crackdown, as protest draws tens of thousands

Last weekend, some 300 persons were detained, amid warning shots, after opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, exiled in Lithuania, had tried last year to initiate a national strike across Belarus.

The opposition considers her to be the actual winner of the August vote.

August election denounced

After the former Soviet republic's August 9 election, the EU denounced the poll as "neither free nor fair" and refused to recognize Lukashenko as re-elected.

Read more: Belarus: Over 100,000 protest against Lukashenko ahead of strike ultimatum

Individuals among the 40 already facing asset freezes and travel bans include ex-interior minister Yuri Karayev and the special security units Omon and SOBR.

Last Friday, Lukashenko appointed a new interior minister, Ivan Kubrakov, previously the chief of Minsk's police force, and warned protesters that security services would "take no prisoners."

His regime also banned foreigners from entering via land borders.

ipj/rc (dpa, Reuters, AP)