EU Hardens Stance Toward Belarus Leader Amid Talks on Sanctions
Among members of the EU, opposition to Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is growing as the organization looks to toughen its response to the country’s current political crisis that ensued after the recent presidential elections in which Lukashenko, the incumbent, won. The EU is allegedly considering imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on Lukashenko, who is also accused of repressing peaceful protests against the election results, which many say were doctored. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called for a repeat of the August election, stating that the vote wasn’t free or fair. Borrell stated last week that he no longer considers Lukashenko’s rule legitimate.
The EU developments on imposing sanctions have been recent, although Lukashenko has accumulated a massive amount of power throughout his 26 years in charge of Belarus. The EU has also prepared sanctions that would target 40 Belarusians who have a significant stake in the political spectrum of the country. The US originally imposed sanctions on the leader in 2006 and has maintained them since. On Monday, the EU decided to reconsider its course of action due to ongoing mass arrests and protest repression occurring in the country without any signifier that the election would be re-done.