2020.08.31 12:24

Lithuania sanctions 30 Belarusian officials including Lukashenko

BNS2020.08.31 12:24

On Monday, Lithuania imposed sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and 29 other officials in the country’s for their role in vote-rigging and violence against protesters.

"Upon receipt of additional submissions, the list may be supplemented", the Lithuanian Interior Ministry said in a press release.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said earlier on Monday that the list had been coordinated with Latvia and Estonia, noting that this was "only the initial version, and [other] people will be added to the list in the future".

He also said that Latvia and Estonia will also impose sanctions on the same officials. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said later on Monday that the lists may differ.

Blacklisted individuals, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, will be banned from entering Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Nausėda said, noting that several of them had visited Lithuania in recent years.

"For now, we are talking about restrictions on the movement of officials. Mr. Lukashenko is on that list," he said. "We found out that three people on this list had visited Lithuania in the last five years, one of them as many as 15 times."

The list includes Belarus' authoritarian leader and his son Viktor Lukashenko, who is also the president's national security advisor; Igor Sergeyenko, the head of the president's administration; Interior Minister Yuri Karayev and Deputy Ministers Gennady Kazakevich, Sergei Khomenko and Alexander Barsukov; Valery Vakulchik, the head of the State Security Committee (KGB), and his deputy Sergei Terebov; Ivan Tertel, the chairman of the State Control Committee; Yuri Nazarenko, the commander of the Internal Troops; and Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk.

Ivan Kubrakov, one of the police chiefs in Minsk, Irina Tselikovets, a Justice Ministry employee, and Ivan Noskevich, the chairman of the Investigative Committee, are also among those subject to sanctions.

All members of the Central Election Commission were also blacklisted.

The publication of the list followed a week of preparatory work, according to the president. The Foreign Ministry previously proposed sanctioning 118 Belarusian officials.."

‘Golden Belarusian fertilisers’

On Friday, Lukashenko threatened to impose retaliatory economic sanctions on Lithuania over its support for the opposition.

The authoritarian leader said he had asked the government to come up with proposals to redirect commercial cargo from Klaipėda, where Belarusian shipments account for around a third of the total annual traffic, to other seaports.

Read more: Belarus threatens sanctions on Lithuania to ‘show them their place’

According to Nausėda, such a move would backfire by pushing up the price of Belarusian fertilisers that are now exported via Klaipėda.

"In any case, that will serve no good to Belarus' economy," the president said.

"As a result of the use of alternative routes, we'll probably see a new type of product emerge in the international market and that product will be called golden Belarusian fertilisers," he said in reference to the likely increase of prices.

Several Lithuanian ministers and the top executives of the port and its cargo handling companies, as well as the state railway operator Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, have said that it would be economically damaging for Belarus to divert its cargo away from Klaipeda.

Algis Latakas, the CEO of Klaipėda Port, has also said it is impossible to swiftly reroute cargo shipments to other ports.

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