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War in Ukraine: Belarusian opposition calls for sanctions against Lukashenko

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Considered an “accomplice” of Vladimir Putin in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been singled out by the country’s opposition. The latter called on Wednesday for sanctions against Belarus as harsh as that aimed at Russia and for legal proceedings.

Pavel Latouchko, a figure in the Belarusian opposition, called on Wednesday for sanctions against Belarus as harsh as those aimed at Russia and for legal proceedings against its president Alexander Lukashenko, “accomplice” of Vladimir Putin in the invasion of the Ukraine. Russian President “Putin has been rightly condemned all over the world. But Lukashenko deserves far more widespread opprobrium than he has had so far”, writes the opponent in the British weekly The New European.

This former culture minister, who lives in exile in Warsaw after his dismissal for having publicly called for new elections in Belarus in 2020, considered that the Belarusian president was “accomplice” in the war in Ukraine, having allowed the Russia to use its territory for the invasion.

A “Putin pawn”

“He may be Putin’s pawn, a puppet leader in a puppet state, but he’s also a major player in this horrific situation, and it’s time for the West to realize this and act accordingly,” continues he, asking that Belarus be imposed “the same sanctions” as those aimed at Russian interests.

Otherwise, Western countries will leave “a huge loophole”, he warns, by allowing sanctions to be circumvented via Belarus, “where Russians still have access to Western brands”. Belarus has been targeted by sanctions due in particular to its role in the attack on Ukraine, which are less extensive than those targeting Russia.

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Belarusian opposition deplores Western “inaction”

London has sanctioned several top military officials and companies in the country, and Washington has banned Alexander Lukashenko from entering the United States, along with his wife and three sons.

Pavel Latouchko also deplores the “inaction” of the West after the arrest of opposition journalist Roman Protassevich, following the interception of his Ryanair flight by a Belarusian fighter plane in May 2021, or when Minsk been accused of organizing an influx of migrants at the borders of the European Union. “Lukashenko must be brought to justice” before the International Criminal Court, he pleads.

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