UK and Canada Impose Sanctions Against Belarus President Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures as he takes part in the celebrations of Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

The United Kingdom and Canada have leveled sanctions against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and other top officials after this year’s election drew international controversy.

The U.S. and European Union will likely impose sanctions as well, but the EU has been held up by Cyprus, who also wants sanctions on Turkey for oil and gas exploitation in the Mediterranean.

Several countries, including the U.S., have said they do not even recognize Lukashenko as the president of Belarus. French President Emmanuel Macron even set up a meeting with the leader of the opposition party and hopes to help mediate the situation.

Protests

Inside the country, protests have not abated. Crowds of thousands gather each weekend in Minsk to express displeasure about the election.

Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association says, “The government launched another crackdown with the most recent protests that took place. It just seems like whenever they crack down, that just adds more protestors. It doesn’t look like this is going to settle down anytime soon.”

Since the protests began over 7 weeks ago, police have made over 12,000 arrests.

The sanctions by the UK and Canada have hit Lukashenko with asset freezes and a travel ban, accusing him of mistreating protestors. But will they make any impact? Griffith says, “Some will argue that these have a definite impact and have resulted in a lessening of oppression on people. Others will say that they’ve really had a counterproductive impact. Economically, they tend to impact the average person on the street in these countries more than they affect the leadership.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

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