The leaders of the European Union member states have agreed to introduce sanctions against Belarus in response to the rigging of the results of the presidential elections and the use of violence against protesters.

"The EU will impose shortly sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and election fraud," President of the European Council Charles Michel said at the end of an extraordinary summit of EU leaders called to discuss the bloc's reaction to the disputed August 9 elections in Belarus.

The EU has called on the Belarusian authorities to find a peaceful way out of the crisis by ending violence and starting a comprehensive national dialogue, Michel said.

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In his words, all parties, including third countries, should support this process.

As the President of the European Council noted, the European Union fully supports the OSCE proposal to start a dialogue and is ready to help.

In turn, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that the people of Belarus yearn for change. She noted that residents of Belarus came out to join peaceful protests, and the authorities responded with violence, which is unacceptable.

International community's position vis-a-vis Belarus

  • On August 14, the European Union announced it did not recognize the outcome of the presidential elections in Belarus and said work had begun to introduce sanctions over electoral fraud and violence against protesters.
  • Austria has backed sanctions against Belarus and called for new elections.
  • The Bundestag called on the Belarusian authorities to stop violence against protesters.
  • Lithuania's Seimas refused to recognize Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
  • Canada and Ireland refused to acknowledge Lukashenko's victory in the elections.