The latest dramatic developments unfolding in Ukraine's neighboring country Belarus have clearly shown that the August 9 presidential election cannot be referred to as those held in line with the established democratic standards.
Peaceful protests in the capital city Minsk and other cities across the country, as a massive response to the official polls released after the voting ended, unfortunately, saw more an overly harsh reaction on the part of local authorities. Reports came of a significant number of casualties and detainees.
Warsaw and Vilnius have already called such crackdown as "unacceptable". Both Poland and Lithuania are parties to a recently formed joint format "Lublin Triangle", also involving Ukraine.
In particular, the presidents of Poland and Lithuania issued a joint statement calling on the Belarusian authorities to "refrain from violence and respect fundamental freedoms, human and civil rights."
Lithuania hinted that nuclear fuel was put into the first reactor of the Ostrovets NPP in Belarus right on the eve of presidential election, which indicates the project's geopolitical rather than economic nature
At the same time, the Polish Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern about the brutal pacification of the post-election rallies: "We call on the Belarusian authorities to cease actions that aggravate the situation and to start respecting basic human rights."
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's statement was even harsher in its statement: "… The use of excessive force against peaceful protesters is reprehensible and unacceptable… We are concerned that the call of the Lithuanian and international communities to repression to a halt and ensure a transparent electoral climate has been ignored. We call on the Belarusian authorities to cease persecution of political opponents, to immediately release all those unjustly detained, and to respect human rights and freedoms."
Moreover, Lithuania hinted that nuclear fuel was put into the first reactor of the Ostrovets NPP in Belarus right on the eve of presidential election, which indicates the project's geopolitical rather than economic nature. Therefore, Lithuania is turning down the option of purchasing electricity "at the hazardous Ostrovets nuclear power plant." "We are ready to develop relations based on the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect, and trust. However, these relations strongly depend on the will and actions of our neighbor," the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry added.
We should also keep in mind that today's Minsk is a military-political ally of Moscow, which opens wide opportunities for meddling by the assertive Russia
Obviously, it is in Ukraine's interests to show foreign political consistency, commitment to our European choice, and to act in coordination with our partners, as well as to ensure that human rights are properly respected in this country that's so important to us.
The concerted action by the Lublin Triangle member states on the developments in Belarus will not only be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of this new regional format of cooperation, but will undoubtedly increase Ukraine's weight and prestige in the international arena, in particular in the European Union.
We should also keep in mind that today's Minsk is a military-political ally of Moscow, which opens wide opportunities for meddling by the assertive Russia.
Therefore, meticulous monitoring of further developments in and around Belarus should also become the major priority for the Ukrainian government.
Oleh Belokolos is Chairman of the Board at the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation