Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Minister of Foreign Affairs, called for additional European Union sanctions on Belarusian officials Thursday amid continued political repression in that country.
Speaking at an informal video meeting involving EU foreign ministers, Reinsalu also said Belarusian firms which support the regime of Alexander Lukashenko should be added to the existing sanctions list.
The recent, high-profile death of protestor Raman Bandarenko highlighted how, over three months after Lukashenko was returned to office in elections widely condemned as rigged, little had changed, Reinsalu noted.
"The death of 31-year old Raman Bandarenko, who lost his life last week due to the brutal actions of Belarusian security forces, demands a response. Those responsible for this tragedy must be held to account and we call on EU states to impose additional sanctions on Belarusian officials. Belarusian companies that support the regime must be added to the EU sanctions lists," the foreign minister said via a press release, noting that the situation has if anything become worse in Belarus.
Estonia, together with Belgium, Germany, France and the U.K. also raised the issue at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting last week, Reinsalu added.
Other topics on the table at the online meeting included multilateral issues – the foreign minister of Palestine joined the meeting remotely – the recent U.S. presidential elections and the ceasefire following the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Editor: Andrew Whyte