EU foreign ministers have resolved to impose their toughest punitive measures yet on Belarus, a package of economic sanctions targeting sectors that benefit the government of President Alexander Lukashenko.
EU Foreign policy top representative, Josep Borrell, announced the decision following a Monday meeting in Luxembourg, and said he believed they would "put pressure" on Lukashenko.
EU foreign ministers will meet on Monday in Luxembourg to blacklist dozens more supporters of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in a bid to tighten the vice on his government and strengthen its opponents, news wires reported. Seventy-eight individuals are to be hit with measures like EU travel bans or having assets located in the bloc frozen, EU sources told dpa last week.
A Belarusian political activist stabbed himself in the neck on the first day of his trial on June 1 and was rushed to hospital, a rights group said.
Viasna, an independent rights group monitoring the trial of Stepan Latypov, said it believed the activist had tried to commit suicide following pressure in detention.
Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Friday in a critical display of Moscow's support for Lukashenko's regime, a day after the UN civil aviation agency announced it would investigate Sunday's diversion of a Ryanair plane and the arrest of a journalist on board.
The United States and western European members of the U.N. Security Council called on May 26 for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to investigate Belarus' diversion of a European flight and arrest of a dissident on board.
Their call came hours after a defiant President Alexander Lukashenko on May 26 defended the action, lashing out at critics at home and abroad.
The Belarusian leader said "ill-wishers" are "trying to strangle Belarus" in his first speech since a commercial flight was intercepted and a critical blogger arrested.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko hit out at Western powers on Wednesday, saying that his country's "ill-wishers" are "trying to strangle Belarus."