Lukashenka demands tit-for-tat response to ‘mobster’ sanctions from West

On Tuesday, Alyaksandr Lukashenka heard out reports by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Nazarau and Industry Minister Pyotr Parkhomchyk.

During the meeting, he made mention of Belarusian enterprises that had fallen ‘under the so-called mobster sanctions from the West’, instructing the officials to ‘see which countries did this’ and discuss the issue so that Belarus could come with a tit-for-tat response. According to the politician, there are thousands of foreign companies working in Belarus.

“They [the countries that imposed sanctions] should keep it in mind. As long as our relations are fine, these enterprises will be fine. Once they take steps in the wrong direction and start to pressurize us, we must respond symmetrically. We should not be afraid, we should fight back,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

On the back of the event, minister Parkhomchyk told journnalists that there had not been any special impact of the Western sanctions so far, but stressed that a number of Finnish and German companies started to delay the supply of some components.

In early October, the European Union leaders agreed to impose sanctions on more than 40 Belarusian officials over the vote rigging and post-election police violence in the country. However, the name of Alyaksandr Lukashenka was not added to the sanctions list at that moment. It included senior police and election officials, e.g. Interior Minister Yury Karayeu, Public Security Police Chief Alyaksandr Barsukou, Dzmitry Balaba, Commander of the Special Purpose Police Unit of Minsk (OMON), Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Valery Vakulchyk, ex-Head of the State Security Committee (KGB), and others.

IT company Synesis, which is now under EU sanctions, is connected with Lukashenka

Yet later, the Council of the European Union added 15 members of the Belarusian authorities, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, as well as his son and national security adviser Viktar Lukashenka, to the list of individuals sanctioned in relation to the violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists after the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.

In late November, MEPs passed a resolution on ‘the continuous violations of human rights in Belarus, in particular the murder of Raman Bandarenka’. In the document, they highlighted that actions taken so far by the EU and the member states against the Lukashenka regime were ‘insufficient’; they welcomed the decision to work on a third package of sanctions aimed at firms and oligarchs with ties to the regime and called for a ‘credible enlargement’ of the EU sanctions list. On December 17, the Council of the European Union approved the third package of sanctions against the political regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Another 29 individuals and 7 legal entities fell under the restrictions.

On December 21, the US Senate approved the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act of 2020.The bill gives additional authority to the President of the United States to impose new sanctions on the back of the stealing of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus and the brutal crackdown on post-election protests.

US sanctions OMON, Central Election Commission, internal troops as ‘Belarusian regime actors’

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