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14 Aug, 2020 17:17

EU does not accept Belarus election results, preparing sanctions – Foreign policy chief Borrell

EU does not accept Belarus election results, preparing sanctions – Foreign policy chief Borrell

The European Union is refusing to recognize election results in Belarus and is preparing sanctions over the 'rigged' vote and the heavy-handed police response to protests, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has confirmed.

The EU "doesn't accept election results" in Minsk, Borrell tweeted on Friday evening, adding that work has begun on "sanctioning those responsible for violence [and] falsification" of the vote. 

Borrell's comments come after a conference call of 27 EU foreign ministers, which ended in a consensus that the Belarus elections "were rigged," according to Slovakian FM Ivan Korcok.

“We cannot ignore the facts of election fraud and the use of force,” Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said after the meeting, adding that the EU foreign policy unit has been tasked with putting together a list of officials to be sanctioned. 

Mass protests began shortly after the presidential election last Sunday, which the incumbent President Aleksandr Lukashenko won in a landslide, according to official results. Thousands have been arrested and two people have died in the five days of unrest, with viral videos showing law enforcement brutally dispersing demonstrators calling for regime change.

Also on rt.com Thousands of workers march to Belarus parliament from Minsk tractor factory as protests intensify (VIDEOS)

Ahead of the ministerial teleconference, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for “additional sanctions against those who violated democratic values or abused human rights” in Belarus and expressed confidence the foreign ministers will “demonstrate our strong support for the rights of the people in Belarus to fundamental freedoms and democracy.”

Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has fled to Lithuania after Belarus security services said they intercepted a plot to assassinate her, called for peace on the streets – but insisted the election had been rigged. Lukashenko maintains the vote count was fair.

Also on rt.com Self-exiled Belarus presidential candidate Tikhanovskaya demands vote recount & end of ‘bloodbath’ on streets

After consulting with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has called for a new presidential election in Belarus.

“The election in Belarus must be repeated, must be transparent and with the presence of foreign observers,” Babis said on Friday.

Lukashenko has accused outsiders of seeking to organize a ‘color revolution’ in Belarus, and said activists from Poland, Ukraine, Netherlands and even the Russian opposition have arrived to organize the unrest. 

Also on rt.com ‘You’re being used as cannon fodder’: Lukashenko urges people to STAY HOME, blames protests on foreign meddling

“The aggression against the country has already begun,” Lukashenko said during a meeting with the Belarus National Security Council. He also urged Belarusians to stay home for the sake of safety.

“Don’t go out into the streets now! Understand that you and your children are being used as cannon fodder,” said the president, who has ruled Belarus since 1994. 

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