Foreign ministers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland on Wednesday stressed their support for the Belarusian opposition on the third anniversary of the rigged presidential election that returned Alexander Lukashenko to power.
The ministers said in a joint statement that Lukashenko's regime is "illegitimate" and his quest to stay as president a "criminal seizure of power".
This has "resulted in massive internal repression, complicity in war crimes and the crime of aggression, a rapid erosion of the sovereignty of Belarus, as well as the destabilization of the region."
Over the last three years, the regime has jailed 1,500 people as political prisoners, been widely condemned by the international community, and continued to "ramp up its inhumane repressions".
Since February 2022, the Lukashenko regime has supported Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
"The Russian army is using Belarusian ammunition, spare parts and territory to launch attacks on Ukraine, and more than 2000 Ukrainian children have been taken forcefully to Belarus, which makes Lukashenko and the leadership of Belarus complicit in the war," Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) said.
The foreign ministers stressed that at this particularly painful moment in Belarusian history the countries continue to stand with its people.
"We believe in democratic, independent, and sovereign Belarus, as much as we believe in the victory of Ukraine," the joint statement says.
Tsahkna reaffirmed that Estonia would continue its "solid support" for the Belarusian opposition's democratic aspirations and civil society to ensure 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," he added.
Editor: Helen Wright