EU Says It Does Not Recognize Belarus Presidential Election Results

The European Union said Wednesday it does not recognize the results of Belarus’s August 9 election that detractors of President Alexander Lukashenko say was rigged to extend his 26 years in office. The EU also said it would move forward with sanctions on Belarus.
“The EU will impose shortly sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and electoral fraud,” European Council President Charles Michel said after an EU emergency summit to discuss the crisis in Belarus.
Unrest in Belarus further escalated Wednesday when Lukashenko ordered his police to suppress protests in the capital, Minsk, days after a severe crackdown on peaceful protesters that resulted in the deaths of at least two people, the injuring of hundreds of others and the detention of nearly 7,000 people.
“There should no longer be any disorder in Minsk of any kind,” the official Belta news agency reported Lukashenko as saying.Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko chairs a Security Council meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 18, 2020.Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has offered military assistance to Lukashenko, warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday not to interfere in Belarusian affairs. Putin’s warning came as he spoke by phone with Merkel, Macron and Michel.
A political opponent of Lukashenko urged EU leaders before the emergency summit not to recognize the presidential election, declaring it was rigged in Lukashenko’s favor. Lukashenko denies the accusation.  
Political opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya issued the appeal from exile in neighboring Lithuania. “I call on you not to recognize these fraudulent elections,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “Mr.  Lukashenko has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of our nation and the world.”
Tsikhanouskaya says she is the winner of the vote and has called for new elections under international supervision.Belarusian Opposition Leader Flees to Lithuania Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya tells supporters she feared for her children’s safety on 3rd straight night of violent anti-government protestsWorkers in Belarus began striking in recent days as part of a campaign to oust the authoritarian president.
Unrest began to escalate after Lukashenko dismissed demands to resign following a severe police clampdown on peaceful protesters.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has offered to visit Belarus as the incoming head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which frequently mediates disputes on the continent. Western nations and former states of the Soviet Union are members of the OSCE. 

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