On 20 October, EU High Representative Josep Borrell addressed a plenary session on Belarus at the European Parliament.
“[T]he situation on the ground in Belarus has not improved,” he said. “It has been, and it continues to be, a brutal crackdown against citizens, journalists and against members of the Coordination Council.”
Borrel added that the government’s recent authorisation to use lethal force and the increasing levels of violence against protestors “are extremely worrying”.
“They are sending extremely worrying signs, but also signs of desperation on the side of authorities – aware as they are of the unwavering commitment of Belarusians to a democratic future of their country,” Borrell stressed, adding that the EU has adopted sanctions against 40 Belarusian officials responsible for violence, repression and election falsification.
“We did that a couple of weeks ago, but since the situation in Minsk continues to deteriorate and there seems to be limited prospects for a dialogue […], the Council gave its political green light to start the preparation of the next sanctions package,” said Mr Borrell. “And this time it includes also Aleksandr Lukashenko himself. The technical work started immediately after the Council and it will be finished soon. No Member States put any kind of obstacles to that.”
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