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EU does not recognize results of Belarusian election, European Council president says

The relevant document also calls for the release of prisoners and an end of violence against protesters

BRUSSELS, August 19. /TASS/. The August 9 presidential election in Belarus was neither free no fair, according to conclusions by President of the European Council Charles Michel, published after a video conference of the members of the European Council on Wednesday.

"The EU has been following the developments in Belarus very closely and with increasing concern. The August 9 elections were neither free nor fair, therefore we do not recognize the results," the document reads.

The document also calls for the release of prisoners and an end of violence against protesters. "The people of Belarus have a right to determine their future," the document said, adding: "Only a peaceful and democratic process, underpinned by independent and free media and a strong civil society, can provide sustainable solutions. All parties, including third states, should support such a process." Besides, the European Union "will shortly impose sanctions against a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and the falsification of election results."

Though the document does not call for a new election, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said following the meeting that the entire European Council had condemned the situation in Belarus. "We all believe that a new election should take place in Belarus," he added.

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote, his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered 10.12%. Protests erupted in the country's capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers.