EU sanctions Belarus President

Brussels, Nov 7 : The European Union (EU) has added Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his son to its sanctions blacklist, increasing the number of designated people from the eastern European country to 59.

Under the new sanctions imposed on Friday, travel visas will be blocked and any assets the designated persons might have in EU member states will be frozen, the BBC reported.

Also EU citizens and companies will be forbidden from lending to them.

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The decision in principle to add Lukashenko and his son Viktor, who is national security adviser, was taken on October 12 by EU Foreign Ministers.

Besides the President and his son, the bloc on Friday also sanctioned 15 other people, including Ivan Tertel, the Chairman of the State Security Committee (KGB) of Belarus; and Igor Sergeenko, Lukashenko’s chief of staff.

In a statement, the EU said that Tertel has been accused of leading the state crackdown, involving “arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment, including torture, of peaceful demonstrators as well as intimidation and violence against journalists”.

In the face of the crackdown, which was enforced following the massive protests against the results of the August presidential election, the UK had also sanctioned Lukashenko, his son and other senior Belarusian officials.

Widespread protests have gripped Belarus since Lukashenko won over 80 per cent of the votes the August 9 presidential election, securing another six years at the helm after being in power for 26 years.

In the August election, the President’s rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya managed to garner only 10 per cent of the ballots.

The EU, UK and the US have rejected the election results, saying the polls were rigged.

The mass unrest has seen at least four people killed and hundreds injured.

Despite the protests, Russia recognises the 66-year-old Lukashenko as the legitimate President of the eastern European country.

Since the protests first started, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko have held several meetings in an effort to calm the situation.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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