All news

Tikhanovskaya says Belarusian opposition preparing sanctions list

The opposition expected that the government would not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya  Natalia Fedosenko/TASS
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
© Natalia Fedosenko/TASS

KIEV, September 16. /TASS/. Former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya stated that the Belarusian opposition is preparing a sanctions list, she said in an interview with Ukraine’s Levyy Bereg newspaper.

"I think this will be done. There are a lot of issues we need to solve right now. Not just [Maria] Kolesnikova, but [Sergei] Tikhanovsky, [Viktor] Babariko, all the political prisoners held in jail for nothing. We are working on this," she said. The opposition expected that the government would not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus due to the protests, however, this did not happen. "Now we see that more radical steps are needed. So such actions (the creation of a sanctions list) <…> will be carried out," she stated.

Member of the Coordination Council set up by the Belarusian opposition Maria Kolesnikova was detained in the early hours of September 8. She is accused of calling for seizure of power. According to the Belarusian state border committee, Kolesnikova was detained during an attempt to cross the border with Ukraine illegally, where she was going through border control with her colleagues Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov.

Tikhanovskaya’s husband, blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky and politician Viktor Babariko, who were denied registration for the presidential election, are also in custody.

Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.

On September 15, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stressed during a session of the European Parliament that the EU condemns the arrests of several thousand protesters and the use of force by the police in Belarus. He added that in August 14, during an extraordinary session of EU foreign ministers, they decided to adopt sanctions against Belarus "as soon as possible." Earlier, sources in Brussels informed that EU states had prepared a list of about 40 Belarusian officials, including the interior minister, set to be blacklisted. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is not on this list, as leading EU states, namely Germany and France, aim to keep "a window of opportunity" for dialogue with the Belarusian leader.