‘You can choke on your sanctions!’ Belarus president rages at UK over economic punishments
Belarus: Lukashenko says UK ‘can choke’ on new sanctions
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Alexander Lukashenko was hit with more sanctions from the UK and US in an attempt to put further pressure on his regime and to cripple his support. Sanctions on Belarussian banks and Mr Lukashenko’s airlines are hoped to limit the president’s power after sanctions from the European Union were deemed too weak. In response, Mr Lukashenko lashed out at the UK during a live government briefing as he was surrounded by his supporters.
The president raged: “You can choke on those sanctions in the UK, we haven’t had even the faintest idea about this Great Britain.
“And we don’t want one, you are America’s lapdogs.”
The sanctions imposed earlier this week prohibit purchases of transferable securities and money-market instruments issued by the Belarussian banks
Technical support for Lukashenko’s private jets has also been banned and sanctions on Belarussian air carriers means they can not fly over or land in the UK.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement: “The Lukashenko regime continues to crush democracy and violate human rights in Belarus.
“These sanctions demonstrate that the UK will not accept Lukashenko’s actions since the fraudulent election.
“The products of Lukashenko’s state-owned industries will not be sold in the UK, and our aerospace companies will not touch his fleet of luxury aircraft.”
Speaking on Channel 4 News, former UK/Belarus ambassador Nigel Gould-Davies explained the sanctions would be more effective than many may think but it would still take time to destabilise Mr Lukashenko.
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He explained: “They certainly do hurt, and the fact that before they were imposed he warned the West to think very carefully about imposing them shows exactly that he is concerned about these things.
“He knows that he needs to retain the control of a critical mass of loyalists and sanctions make it harder for those people who currently serve them to accept that Lukashenko is a part of a sustainable future for the country.”
Mr Gould-Davies was then asked how long it would take for the Belarus regime to collapse to make way for the more democratic opposition.
The former ambassador added: “The history of that situation shows that it takes longer than you think.
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“But then it happens faster than you expect, think back to 1989, one by one, all those countries in what we used to call Eastern Europe becoming free.
“No one knew exactly when that would happen, but a lot of people saw that it was likely, I think they see that now in Belarus.”
Mr Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and has been criticised for his authoritarian regime and silencing of opposition.
It is believed more than 30 journalists in Belarus are in prison for criticising the regime with one arrested after a fighter jet forced down a plane she was flying on.
Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya criticised her coaches on social media and was reportedly forced to return to Belarus where she would face punishment.
Ms Tsimanouskaya managed to secure protection from Japanese police with the IOC then stripping the Belarussian coachs’ accreditation.
The Olympian has since been granted a humanitarian visa as she says she will only return to Belarus when it is “safe to do so”.
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