MOSCOW, August 12./TASS/. Possible sanctions of the European Union against Belarus should be slapped on individuals, they must not harm the rank and file, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Echo of Moscow radio on Wednesday.
"Something concrete must be done. Hence, sanctions must be discussed. I believe that these should be the sanctions that would not harm the people, but would target those who violate rights and who have used force for no good reason. Concrete sanctions against individuals whom we will agree on for they have deserved such attention from us," the top diplomat said.
According to Linkevicius, the foreign ministers of the EU member countries will hold an online conference on August 14, that will focus, in particular, on the situation in Belarus. "We have already said that this election [the presidential election in Belarus - TASS] cannot be seen as free. Thus, there must be some repercussions," he stressed, adding that this is what the conference would discuss.
Belarus held the presidential election on August 9. Preliminary results show incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko securing his reelection with 80.08% of the votes, while his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya received 10.09% of the ballots cast. The other three candidates failed to get more than two percent each.
After exit poll results were revealed late on August 9, suggesting Lukashenko’s landslide victory, many cities and towns across the country saw mass protests that in some cases turned into clashes with the police. The national Interior Ministry said about 3,000 people had been detained while dozens of police officers and protesters were injured. Moreover, law enforcement officers apprehended a few reporters. Tikhanovskaya challenged the results, refused to recognize them and said that she believes herself to be the elected president. She also filed a complaint with the national election commission. Tikhanovskaya then left the country and fled to Lithuania on Tuesday.