REUTERS

The European Union has officially imposed sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko and dozens of Belarusian officials for violent repression, including arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of peaceful protesters.  

Alexander Lukashenko is said to be "responsible for the violent repression by the State apparatus carried out before and after the 2020 presidential election, in particular with the dismissal of key opposition candidates, arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of peaceful demonstrators as well as intimidation and violence against journalists," the EU official Journal reports.

Lukashenko's son Viktor, a national security advisor and member of the Security Council, who is also in an informal supervisory position over Belarus security forces, has been sanctioned for being "responsible for the repression and intimidation campaign led by the State apparatus in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, in particular with arbitrary arrests and ill‐treatment, including torture, of peaceful demonstrators as well as intimidation and violence against journalists."

Read alsoBelarus shutting down border to foreigners from Nov 1Other officials targeted in the sanction package are: President's Administration chief Igor Sergeenko, KGB head Ivan Tertel, Interior Ministry official Roman Melnik, Investigation Committee head Ivan Noskevich, chair of Constitutional Court Petr Miklasjhevich, and others.

The EU sanctions have been applied to a total of 59 Belarusian citizens.

The initial package of restrictions was introduced against 40 officials representing Lukashenko's regime back on October 2.

Belarus protests: Background

  • On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus. According to the Central Election Commission's official data, 80.1% of voters backed Alexander Lukashenko, and 10.1% voted for his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
  • Following the announcement of the election outcome, protests swept across the country. Security officials have been detaining and using force against protesters, opening politically charged cases against opposition figures. Hundreds have been injured, with a few lethal incidents reported.
  • The Belarusian opposition has created the Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power.
  • The European Union has not recognized the election results and decided to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for rigging the vote and violently cracking down on protesters.
  • On September 15, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a statement on Belarus. The MPs branded the elections unfair, condemned repression, and supported EU sanctions against Belarusian officials.
  • Lukashenko on September 23 was secretly sworn in a ceremony held behind closed doors in Minsk.
  • On October 26, an indefinite national strike began in Belarus.