Belarusian rebel leaders increase sanctions, athletes say they have been ‘manipulated’



File photo: Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Zimanoskaya, who left the Olympic Games in Tokyo and is seeking asylum in Poland, holds up a T-shirt during a press conference in Warsaw, Poland on August 5, 2021. REUTERS / Darek Golik

August 9, 2021

Natalia Ginets, William James, Elizabeth Piper

Kiev / London / Washington (Reuters) – Rebel President Alexander Lukashenko shrugged on Monday simply because the Belarusian sprinter was “manipulated” by outside forces and shrugged off the adjusted barrage of new Western sanctions. He said he was in exile.

Lukashenko said in an hour-long press conference on election day that he cheated to win, denied being a dictator and defending Belarus against opponents plotting a coup. paddy field.

While speaking at the presidential residence in Minsk, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States announced coordinated sanctions against the Belarusian economy and its financial sector. This includes exports of petroleum products and potassium, which are used in fertilizers and which are Belarus’ main sources of foreign exchange. ..

Lukashenko said Britain had “stifled” the measure and was ready to negotiate with the West instead of a sanctions war.

Lukashenko fairly won the presidential election on August 9, 2020, claiming that “some are preparing for a fair election and others are seeking a coup”.

Since Lukashenko became president in 1994, tens of thousands of people have participated in street protests in 2020, the biggest challenge. He responded with repression and many enemies were arrested or exiled. They deny the coup plan.

Rejecting accusations that he is a dictator, he says: I have not dictated anything to anyone and I have no intention of doing so. ”

Belarus has gained international attention again since sprinter Krystsina Zimanoskaya fled to Warsaw last week following a dispute with her coach.

“She didn’t do it herself, she was manipulated. When she contacted a Polish companion and went to the airport, she rushed to a Japanese policeman and dropped her off at the KGB airport. It was from Japan and Tokyo that I shouted that I was an agent, ”Lucashenko said.

“There was no special duty officer in Japan.”

Refusal of dictatorship

Lukashenko, 66, has maintained power with the political and financial backing of Russia, which views Belarus as a buffer state against the NATO military alliance and the European Union.

Belarus will respond to sanctions pressures as needed, but “there is no need to resume the sanctions axis and the rake,” he said.

Western countries that have announced sanctions cited human rights violations and fraudulent elections. US President Joe Biden accused him of what he called a “brutal crackdown to curb objections.”

“… The actions of the Lukashenka administration are illegal efforts to seize power at any cost. Confronting this oppression is for all who care about human rights, free and fair elections and freedom of expression. It’s your responsibility, ”Byden said.

Biden’s executive order allows the United States to block various Belarusian officials and those who do business with others involved in activities in countries considered corrupt. It also restricts the transfer of their property to the United States and their movement within the United States.

British sanctions have also banned the purchase of securities and money market products issued by Belarusian states and state-owned banks. Canada has announced similar actions.

Previous sanctions, including those from the EU, have not convinced Lukashenko to back away.

“We will accept it patiently, sit down at the negotiating table and start discussing how to get out of this situation, because we will remain stuck without coming back,” Lukashenko said.

Tensions with Western forces reached new heights after Belarus landed a plane in Minsk in May and arrested dissident Belarusian journalists.

Separately, neighboring Lithuania and Poland have accused Belarus of trying to design an immigration crisis in retaliation for EU sanctions.

Poland reported a record number of migrants crossing the border from Belarus since Friday, saying they were likely from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lukashenko says Lithuania and Poland are responsible.

He also denied any involvement in the death of Vital Shyshou, who headed a Kiev-based organization that helped Belarusians escape persecution last week. Chichov was found hanged in Kiev.

Opponents of Lukashenko say there are currently more than 600 political prisoners in prison.

“Sanctions are not a quick fix, but they will help stop the repression,” Belarusian opposition leader Subiatrana Chikanoskaya, who was banned, told Vilnius.

(Trevor Hunnicutt and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington, Gwladys Fouché, Tom Balmforth in Oslo, Katya Golubkova and Olzhas Auyov in Moscow, Elizabeth Piper and William James in London, additional reports by Alan Charlish in Warsaw;

Belarusian rebel leaders increase sanctions, athletes say they have been ‘manipulated’

Belarusian rebel leaders increase sanctions, athletes say they have been ‘manipulated’


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