More pressure must be put on Alexander Lukashenko's regime and the Belarusian authorities, Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) said during a meeting with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the leader of the democratic opposition, in Tallinn on Thursday.
Tsahkna said that the Belarusian authorities have been complicit in Russia's brutal war against Ukraine, which has continued for more than a year now.
"The Russian army is using Belarusian ammunition, spare parts, and territory for launching air raids against Ukraine, and more than 2000 Ukrainian children have been taken by force to Belarus, which makes Lukashenko and the leadership of Belarus accomplices in the war," he added.
Tsahkna underlined that decisions need to be taken at the European Union level to exert pressure on the Lukashenko regime, mainly through political isolation and sanctions.
"The Lukashenko regime must not feel it has impunity," the minister said.
The foreign minister assured that Estonia would continue to support the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian opposition and the civil society to make sure that violations of human rights and international law do not go unnoticed.
"The international community must continue to stand for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus and hold the organizers of repressions accountable," Tsahkna said.
After the presidential elections in Belarus, human rights violations have escalated. The Lukashenko regime currently has more than 1,500 political prisoners.
Tikhanovskaya also met with the Riigikogu's Friends of Democratic Belarus Group and Speaker Lauri Hussar.
In my meetings today with @Riigikogu Speaker Lauri Hussar & @UrmasReinsalu, Head of the new group for Democratic #Belarus, we discussed further steps to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable, support for political prisoners & the threat of nuclear weapon deployment in Belarus. pic.twitter.com/DtsPmpXVGQ— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) June 15, 2023
Estonia recently assigned a diplomat to work with the Belarusian opposition in Vilnius where Tikhanovskaya is based.
Editor: Helen Wright