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Belarus Elections: Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Challenges Vote Results

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has issued an official statement, which expresses quite a soft position regarding the events in Belarus where protests have been going on for a week.

According to the document, the officially announced results of the Belarus President election “have no creditability in Belarusian society.” The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also announces that Ukraine is concerned about the violence against peaceful protesters and supports the EU’s position in general.

“We share the position expressed by the European Union regarding the elections in Belarus. Ukraine is extremely concerned about the cases of unjustified brutality of law enforcement officers against citizens participating in the protests, media representatives and foreigners,” the statement notes.

Besides, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed a hope that the release of some detainees would be the start of a dialogue between the authorities and the civil society.

“We call on the Belarusian leadership to prevent further political persecution of its opponents and those Belarusian citizens who took to the streets to demonstrate their position, as well as to investigate thoroughly all the cases of illegal forcing against peaceful protesters,” the Foreign Ministry stated.

The statement also affirmed that Ukraine considers Belarus a particularly close state and is ready to make efforts to resolve the crisis with respect to the citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

To recap, the European Union states have agreed not to recognize the official “results” of the presidential election in Belarus. Besides, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, confirmed the information about the work on the imposition of the personal sanctions “on people responsible for violence and fraud” during Belarus elections.

In retaliation to these statements, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry stressed that the introduction of new EU sanctions on account of the events related to the presidential elections would mean the end of the bloc’s policy towards the country. At the same time, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry representative noted that his state is ready to “continue, albeit difficult, the dialogue.”

Meanwhile, the authorities organized a rally in support of Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday, 16 August in Minsk. According to media, public sector workers from all over the country were brought to the event. People from the regions complained that the authorities forced them to take part in the rally upon pain of dismissal.

Lukashenko himself gave a speech at the event, stating, in particular, that “NATO troops are rattling caterpillars near our borders. Lithuania, Poland and, unfortunately, our native Ukraine call for the new elections. If we agree with them, we will become deadlocked and never stabilise our ‘aircraft.’ We will perish as a nation.” Also, he stated his readiness to change the country and carry out reforms “tomorrow.”

In parallel with the official event in Minsk and other cities of Belarus, opposition protests against security force violence and for Lukashenko’s resignation continue.

The day before, the President of Belarus noted that Russia would provide “comprehensive assistance to ensure the security of Belarus” at the first request of the Belarusian authorities.

On Sunday, 16 August, the press service of the President of Belarus reported that Lukashenko had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time over the weekend.

“The situation with the presidential election in Belarus and the outside pressure on the republic is still being discussed. The Russian side reaffirmed its readiness to provide the necessary support in resolving the arisen problems based on the principles of the Treaty on the Union State Establishment, as well as via the Collective Security Treaty Implementation, if there is a need, ” the statement said.

Bohdan Marusyak

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