Lithuanian politicians across multiple political parties have signed a letter calling for sanctions to be levied against the Belarusian government for human rights abuses allegedly carried out by President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
“There is an urgent need to demonstrate a clear position of the whole EU that the brutal actions by the authoritarian Lukashenko’s regime cannot be tolerated,” the letter to the leaders of EU institutions reads, reported The Baltic Times.
“Therefore, we call for renewing of sanctions against regime and those responsible for the repressions against Belarusian people, for the actions undermining the democratic nature of elections and for the interfering into the democratic and competitive political process, including the participation in the electoral fraud – for the violation of principles and values that are at the very heart of European Union,” the letter reads.
The initiator of this address, Landsbergis, leader of the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, says „staying silent would amount to aiding and abetting“, when “democracy is being brutally trampled in the vicinity” of the EU and “political opponents are being persecuted and innocent people are being detained”.
“We cannot close our eyes and cajole dictators as this ostrich policy would lead not only to moral capitulation of Europe but also to the betrayal of thousands of Belarusians taking to the streets to protest and demand democratic changes. Therefore, we, Lithuanian politicians from a wide spectrum of political powers and ideologies, are calling on the EU leadership to impose sanctions on the Belarusian regime for violations of democratic and human rights and freedoms,” Landsbergis told BNS.
Lukashenko has been embroiled in a re-election campaign where opposition candidates have been targeted with repressive tactics. The Belarusian president has also taken heat from the Kremlin as Moscow tries to pull Belarus back into its sphere of influence. Lukashenko has tried to play both sides, east and west, to maintain his country’s sovereignty.