Belarus opposition leader calls for more sanctions against Lukashenko over Ukraine

·1-min read

THE HAGUE (Reuters) -Exiled Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on Friday for harsher sanctions against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko who she says must share full responsibility for Russia's war in Ukraine.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb.24 from both Russian and Belarusian territory, in what it calleda "special military operation" designed to demilitarise and"denazify" its neighbour.

"Lukashenko became an accomplice of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in this war," Tsikhanouskaya told Reuters in The Hague where she met with Dutch politicians and received an award for her work this week.

"He has to share the whole responsibility," she said.

Lukashenko has said his country is unfairly labelled an accomplice in the fight. He has said Belarusian forces are not taking part and will not take part in the conflict.

The European Union, the United States and othershave included Belarus in the sweeping sanctions imposed onRussia.

Tsikhanouskaya said the measures should go further.

"The sanctions should be the same in strength (as those against Russia) but different structure because we don't have so many oligarchs. All the economic power is in the hands of the state sector," she said.

Tsikhanouskaya, who fled her home country in 2020 after a presidential election her supporters say was rigged, warned democratic countries not to be fooled by the president's attempts to paint himself as a bystander in the conflict.

"The fact that Belarusian troops did not enter Ukraine is not the merit of Lukashenko, it is the merit of soldiers themselves who don't understand why we should fight against our brothers and sisters," she said.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting