The Baltic countries have jointly extended sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for organizing the presidential election and the violent crackdown that followed.
On Friday, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs unveiled a list of an additional 98 officials. The first list, which had 30 names including Alexander Lukashenko, was published on August 31. In total, the three countries have now sanctioned 128 officials.
The officials featured on the list have been banned from entering Estonia between September 25, 2020 and August 30, 2025.
These individuals have played key roles in falsifying the election results in Belarus and in using violence against peaceful protesters, the ministry said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu said: "These sanctions express our position on what is happening in Belarus. The presidential elections on August 9 were neither free nor fair and their results were falsified. The so-called inauguration this Wednesday had no democratic legitimacy whatsoever and Estonia does not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as the president of Belarus. We call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately end the violence against the people of Belarus, and demand the unconditional release of all those detained, including political prisoners. The people of Belarus deserve fair and transparent elections to allow them to elect a new leader."
He also called on the European Union to reach a joint decision and to act.
"It is also important for the leaders of the European Union to make a joint political decision on sanctions. We are looking forward to specific agreements on Belarus at the European Council next week," the foreign minister added.
Today Estonia, together with Latvia and Lithuania, has expanded the list of Belarusian officials subject to prohibition on entry. We are addressing the human rights violations in Belarus with utmost seriousness: https://t.co/px5FJvHrxq #sanctions pic.twitter.com/2H6869pMZc— Estonian MFA ???????? (@MFAestonia) September 25, 2020
Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics said in an interview to Latvian Radio on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached with Lithuania and Estonia.
"These sanctions will be extended. That doesn't mean this will be the last of it. We are trying to analyze the information [on violence in Belarus]. The three Baltic States have agreed to continue extending the sanctions list," Rinkevics said, LSM reported.
The list of officials sanctioned can be viewed here.
On Wednesday, Reinsalu called Lukashenko's previously unannounced presidential inauguration "illegitimate".
Today's illegitimate inauguration of #Lukashenko goes against all principles of democracy.— Urmas Reinsalu (@UrmasReinsalu) September 23, 2020
Lukashenko has clearly lost his mandate.
We call upon free and fair elections for people of #Belarus to get the president they deserve.
The Belarusian elections took place on August 9 and declared Lukashenko the winner with more than 80 percent of the votes. Widespread protests followed in which peaceful protesters have been arrested, detained and beaten. Several people have died.
Opposition candidates were banned from running in the election and those that could fled the country after. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is now in Lithuania.
Editor: Helen Wright