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‘Time to bite back’: Lukashenko set to slap tit-for-tat sanctions on Western companies

A number of European states and the US refused to recognize the results of the August 9 presidential election in Belarus, slapping restrictions on the country's individuals and entities
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
© Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP

MINSK, January 12./TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday instructed the government to impose tit-for-tat sanctions against Western nations that had earlier slapped sanctions on some Belarusian enterprises, BelTA news agency reported.

"A couple of our enterprises came under the so-called lawless sanctions from the West," Lukashenko said, urging "a symmetric response." "They imposed sanctions against our enterprises. We must look at precisely which countries did that and we must react accordingly," Lukashenko said as he received Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Nazarov and Minister of Industry Pyotr Parkhomchik.

Lukashenko said that several thousand foreign enterprises, medium-sized and large ones, were operating in the republic. He said they were doing fine in Belarus, "but since they [Western countries - TASS] have taken steps in the wrong direction and have started strong-arming us, we must provide a symmetric response." "We should not be afraid, it’s time we bite back," the Belarusian leader stressed. Meanwhile, the government must support its own enterprises, like the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant, Amkodor and others, he stressed.

Parkhomchik told journalists that certain companies from Finland and Germany were stalling supplies of components to Belarusian enterprises. "Time will show how things will unfold. Our task is to find solutions with the help of the available mechanisms, and to look for ways to phase out imports and localize these components," the minister said.

Developments in Belarus

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. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests.

Against this background, the West has imposed sanctions and other restrictions against Belarus. In particular, the European Union has slapped restrictive measures against the Presidential Property Management Department, the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant, the 140 Repair Plant Joint Stock Company, Beltechexport, Synesis and Dana Holdings. The US Department of State and the Department of the Treasury have announced restrictions over the situation in Belarus. These measures will impact overall 40 individuals and four Belarusian agencies. Minsk has excoriated these sanctions as being shortsighted, flawed and verging on meddling in the domestic affairs of Belarus.