EU rejects Belarus vote result, warns of imminent new sanctions

European Council President Charles Michel announced on Wednesday that the European Union will impose sanctions against a substantial number of Belarusian individuals responsible for “repression” and “election fraud.”

The European Union has rejected the result of the disputed Belarus election, saying President Alexander Lukashenko’s victory was neither free nor fair, and warned of imminent fresh sanctions against his government.

After Wednesday’s emergency video summit, EU Council President Charles Michel told the people of Belarus the bloc stood “by your side” as unprecedented protests against Lukashenko entered an 11th day.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for national dialogue in Belarus – including Lukashenko, who has ruled for 26 years – to find a peaceful way out of the crisis.

The EU has been working on a new round of sanctions against Belarus, targeting those involved in allegedly fixing the August 9 vote and in the bloody repression of protests, which have shaken Lukashenko’s grip on the ex-Soviet republic as never before.

Michel said this would lead “shortly” to “a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and election fraud” being hit with EU travel bans and asset freezes.