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    Poland insists on sanctions against Belarus

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    The Polish government’s spokesman announced on Thursday that they are nearly successful in convincing the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarus due to the conviction of political opponents.

    A court in Minsk sentenced opposition leaders Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Pavel Latushko to 15 and 18 years in prison respectively, Radio Svaboda, the name of US broadcaster Radio Free Europe in Belarus, reported on Monday.

    Sentences were passed, in the absence of both Tsikhanouskaya and Latushko, who had left Belarus to avoid further persecution from Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

    At a press conference on Thursday, Piotr Mueller, a spokesman for the Polish government, declared that they had already submitted a request to the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarus due to the prior convictions of adversaries of the Lukashenko regime.

    In early February, Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and activist of the Polish minority in Belarus, was convicted of ‘inciting national hatred and rehabilitating Nazism’ and sentenced to eight years in prison.

    Mueller declared that Belarus’ prior actions necessitate the imposition of sanctions similar to those levied on Russia. He went on to state that the European Union’s tenth sanctions package against Moscow included an element that indicates Brussels will be looking into sanctions against Minsk in the near future.

    “From what I know, we are close to persuading our European allies to adopt such sanctions against Belarus,” Mueller continued.

    The spokesman noted that some individuals were pushing for Belarus to receive less stringent sanctions than those imposed on Russia; however, Poland was in favour of similar sanctions. Mueller further commented that the only way to make Belarus comprehend that it should change its current course of action was to impose far-reaching sanctions.

    Mateusz Morawiecki, the Prime Minister of Poland, has declared that during the EU Council talks, Poland will suggest that the sanctions list should include people who are either directly or indirectly linked to the trials of opposition activists.

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