Retaliatory sanctions of Belarus will automatically operate in Russia in accordance with allied obligations, said the Foreign Ministry.
“Instead of playing a constructive role and helping to stabilize the situation in Belarus, the European Union has decided to take on the issue of some member countries, committed to further “rocking” the internal political situation in Belarus. We call on the EU to think about the dangerous consequences of such a line,” said in a statement by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
According to the diplomat, in Moscow, Brussels’ decision to impose sanctions against Minsk is regarded “as an open and unacceptable pressure on the Belarusian authorities, which are making efforts to normalize the situation inside the country.
Earlier the summit of the EU heads of state approved a list of sanctions, which included about 40 citizens of Belarus, including law enforcement officials and representatives of election bodies. They were accused of violence against protesters and falsified election results.
Minsk, in turn, today announced “symmetrical restrictions. The response list was not published due to “established civilized diplomatic practice. The republic’s Foreign Ministry also noted that further promotion of the “sanctions flywheel” may lead to more serious consequences: for example, the country’s withdrawal from joint programs and projects, as well as revision of the level of diplomatic presence “until the decision on the expediency of maintaining diplomatic relations.
Later, sanctions were introduced against some officials of Great Britain and Canada.
At the beginning of August, the presidential elections were held in Belarus. According to the CEC, Alexander Lukashenko won them for the sixth time: he received 80.1% of the votes. After that, mass protests began in the republic.
In the first days, the rallies were suppressed by law enforcers, using tear gas, water cannons, light-noise grenades, and rubber bullets against those who disagree with the voting results. More than 6.7 thousand people were detained, hundreds of them were injured, including more than 130 law enforcement officers. The authorities confirmed the deaths of three protesters.
In late September, Alexander Lukashenko took office as president. After that, the head of the European Union diplomacy, Josep Borrel, said that the inauguration lacked democratic legitimacy and led to a deepening crisis in Belarus.
Brussels believes that Lukashenko’s assumption of the presidency contradicts the will of a significant part of the republic’s population, as evidenced by mass demonstrations. Borrel recalled that the EU called for new elections, renunciation of violence and release of all detainees.
In Minsk, it was repeatedly stressed that the protests were coordinated from abroad. According to Lukashenko, the West is interfering in the situation in the republic: the unrest is directed by the USA, while the Europeans are “playing along” with it.