An arrest warrant should also be issued for Belarusian authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko for illegally detaining Ukrainian children in forced labor camps, says European Parliament Member (MEP) Sandra Kalniete (New Unity/EPP).
As Elina Bivina, the politician’s adviser, informed LETA, during a debate on the European Union’s (EU) relations with Belarus in the EP plenary session, the politician stressed that the Belarusian regime is a threat to the EU because it systematically organizes illegal crossings of the Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish borders in an attempt to bring thousands of migrants to Europe.
The politician stressed that the Lukashenko regime is a co-aggressor in Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine: Russian tactical nuclear weapons are deployed in Belarus, mercenaries from the Wagner Group are based there, Russian army units are being trained and more than 2,000 illegally displaced Ukrainian children are being held there.
The European People’s Party (EPP) group in the EP believes that the EU must do all it can to engage with the Belarusian opposition and promote its activities in political exile, and therefore calls on the EU to develop a more ambitious and targeted strategy for a future Belarus, returning the empty seats left by the Lukashenko regime in international organizations of the democratic world to opposition leaders, and preparing a broad economic plan to support the Belarusian democratic forces.
At the same time, the EPP Group strongly condemns the use of migration by the Lukashenko regime as a purposefully organized revenge against Latvia, Lithuania and Poland for their support to the democratic opposition. The current situation at the EU’s external border is seen as possibly the most tense since 2021, and there are signs that it will get worse.
Kalniete pointed out in the debate that three years ago, more than 100,000 people protested in Minsk against the stolen presidential elections. The Lukashenko regime brutalized the protesters and there are now more than 1,500 political prisoners in jail and 300,000 Belarusians have fled their country.
“The Lukashenko regime is responsible not only for stealing the elections, but also for giving up Belarus to Russia, which is why the EU must broaden and strengthen the scope of sanctions, including by severing all ties with the regime and establishing a dialogue with the country’s democratic opposition,” the politician said.
She also pointed out that forced deportations and displacements constitute a crime against humanity, calling on the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Lukashenko and to extend the EU sanctions list to include those responsible for the illegal detention of Ukrainian children in forced labor camps. Lukashenko should be treated in the same way as Vladimir Putin, the MEP believes.
(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)