Tikhanovskaya urges EU to enact more sanctions on Belarus
The bloc should also penalize 'people and companies supporting Lukashenko,' the opposition leader said.
The EU should act fast and impose more sanctions on the regime of strongman Alexander Lukashenko and its supporters, Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has said.
In an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, Tikhanovskaya welcomed the EU’s decision to penalize 40 Belarusian officials last month, but urged Brussels to step up sanctions to include “people and companies supporting Lukashenko,” as well as the Belarusian Olympic Committee, which is headed by Lukashenko.
She also noted that the bloc had at times been slow to act. The sanctions issued in October had been delayed because Cyprus had demanded simultaneous action against Turkey.
“This help is needed now. And if European countries, and all the countries supporting our movement, could move faster in their decisions, that would be wonderful,” she said.
Her comments came as Belarusians protest for the twelfth consecutive week against Lukashenko, who claimed to have won a presidential election in August with 80 percent of the vote. Tikhanovskaya, the main opposition candidate, fled to Lithuania after the vote. The EU has called the election “neither free nor fair.”
On Sunday, tens of thousands of Belarusians gathered once more in Minsk — despite riot police firing warning shots into the air and using stun grenades to deter them, according to Reuters.
Tikhanovskaya also told the FT that visa-free travel for Belarusians to the EU could be of help. “We will be discussing this item with Europe,” she said. “[If] people can leave the country without problems, the regime will not have so much power over them. Belarusians will feel freer.”