The European Union, the United Kingdom along with the US and Canada have imposed tough sanctions on Belarus over “its repressive practices against its own people”.
“We are united in our deep concern regarding the Lukashenko regime’s continuing attacks on human rights, fundamental freedoms, and international law,” the four Western allies said in a joint statement.
“We are committed to supporting the long-suppressed democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus and we stand together to impose costs on the regime for its blatant disregard of international commitments,” the statement reads.
“This decision was made in view of the escalation of serious human rights violations in Belarus and the violent repression of civil society, democratic opposition and journalists,” the four Western allies said.
This came one year after angry protests were violently suppressed by the Belarusian authorities following the latest presidential election.
No official comment has been realised by Belarus so far.
However, Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya welcomed the announcements.
“The European Union decided they deserve these sanctions,” Tsikhanouskaya told reporters in Brussels. “I agree … We have to end the situation in our country, we don’t want it to become North Korea.”
Over the past year, the EU imposed a travel ban on 78 Belarusian officials involved in the events, including the Belarusian defence minister and transport minister, its air force commander, judges and lawmakers.