Michel: EU will impose sanctions on Belarus because of electoral fraud

NEWS 19.08.2020 18:34
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Source: THIERRYCHARLIER / AFP

European Council President Charles Michel said on Wednesday that the European Union did not recognise the results of Belarus presidential elections and would shortly impose sanctions on those who were involved in electoral fraud and repression of protests.

“The EU will impose shortly sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and election fraud,” Michel said at the end of an extraordinary summit of EU leaders, also attended by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

The summit was called to discuss the bloc's reaction to the disputed Aug 9 elections in Belarus.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said he had won the Aug 9 election with 80% of the vote, while the opposition said that it had been an election fraud, and there have been protests against Lukashenko, who has been ruling Belarus for 26 years since the election results were announced.

The European Commission will reroute €53 million earmarked for Belarus away from the government and towards civil society, victims of the state crackdown on protesters and the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday.

The Commission will mobilise €53 million to support Belarus people.

Three million euros will go to victims of repression and civil society, while the biggest portion of the support will go towards the fight against the coronavirus.

Von der Leyen said that the EU is ready to support a peaceful and democratic transfer of power in Belarus.

We support the people in Belarus, who want fundamental freedoms and democracy, she added.