EU to reinforce sanctions on Belarus after ‘unacceptable violence’ – commissioner

European Union leaders will tighten sanctions against Belarus at an emergency video conference on the crisis on Wednesday, according to EU Commissioner for Internal Markets Thierry Breton.

The outcome of the Belarus presidential election “is not in line with the wish of the people. There has been unacceptable violence,” Breton said, adding that the rule of law is not being respected.

“Sanctions have already been taken and will no doubt be reinforced this afternoon,” the commissioner told Europe 1 radio.

Breton also said that talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin would take into account the nature of Minsk’s relationship with Moscow.

“Belarus is not Europe. It is on the border of Europe, between Europe and Russia, and the situation is not comparable to Ukraine or Georgia,” the commissioner said. “Belarus is really strongly connected with Russia and the majority of the population favors close links with Russia.”

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The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said that the country’s Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya discussed the crisis in Belarus by telephone on Wednesday, ahead of the emergency EU video conference. They agreed that no outside power should try to interfere in the situation in Belarus, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said.

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