Tikhanovskaya to ERR: Europe took too long approving sanctions

After Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya accepted the Sakharov Prize on behalf of the country's democratic opposition, she told ERR that Europe must extend sanctions on the Belarusian regime and that the European Union took too long establishing primary sanctions.

The European Parliament awarded Belarusian democratic opposition with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on Wednesday. Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya traveled to Brussels to accept the award and told ERR's Brussels correspondent Joosep Värk that while they are grateful to the EU, more should have been done.

"We are grateful to Europe, European countries and other democratic countries that they did not recognize [Alexander] Lukashenko as a legitimate president. It gave us real inspiration that we are not alone in this war and that European countries will not leave us alone with this dictator," Tikhanovskaya said.

"As a matter of fact, we were waiting for rather fast and strong assistance from European countries and it was rather strange that these sanctions took such a long time but we have what we have and we have to make do with this. So now we are asking, or even demanding, expansions of these sanctions because there are too few people on this list," she continued.

Tikhanovskaya said both personal and economic sanctions should be extended on Belarusian officials. "First of all, expanding on individual sanctions and expanding on targeted economical sanctions. Targeted on the so-called 'wallets' of Lukashenko. We have [to] cut Lukashenko from any financial aid," she added.

The opposition candidate and presumed actual winner of tampered elections said all layers of society need assistance during the lasting protests and moreso, the retaliation to protests.

"On the other hand, we have to help civil society at this very moment because people are oppressed, people are in jails, people are getting fired. Every layer of population is suffering now - doctors, teacher, students, old people, workers, any kind. We have to assist them in this difficult period. On the one hand, we have to take from the regime and give to civil society for them to survive," Tikhanovskaya said.

She concluded by saying that there is a state of lawlessness in Belarus and that she is asking other countries to start criminal investigations on the terms of universal jurisdiction.

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.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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