D.he Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko has sharply attacked Germany because of the new sanctions imposed by Western states. “What we did not expect is that Germany would also take part in this collective conspiracy,” said Lukashenko at a memorial service on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the German attack on the Soviet Union on Tuesday. “We did not expect that from those whose ancestors killed every third Belarusian.”
He described the time of the sanction decision on the day before the 80th anniversary of the German attack on the Soviet Union as “symbolic”. “Eighty years have passed, and now? What’s this? Another hot war? ”He also attacked Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), who had declared that the economic sanctions would“ hit Belarus delicately ”. “Who are you? A repentant German or the heir of the Nazis? ”Asked Lukashenko, turning to Maas.
Punitive measures against several dozen people
The Belarusian ruler was referring to the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union. With the attack on June 22, 1941, the so-called Great Patriotic War began for the Soviet Union. It is estimated that the German war of extermination against the Soviet Union killed 27 million people, including 14 million civilians.
The background to Lukashenko’s statements are sanctions by the EU, the USA, Canada and the UK. On Monday, the western states imposed entry and property bans on the Defense and Transport Ministers of Belarus because of the forced landing of a Ryanair aircraft. In total, several dozen people and institutions are affected by the punitive measures. In addition, the EU foreign ministers launched far-reaching economic sanctions.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry condemned the sanctions as “arbitrary, destructive actions”. The western countries wanted to put pressure on a sovereign state in this way. Belarus will do whatever it takes to protect its citizens and businesses. The sanctions would be ineffective.
At the end of May Belarus forced a Ryanair plane to make a stopover in Minsk on its way from Athens to Vilnius under the pretext of a bomb threat with a fighter jet. On board were the blogger Roman Protassewitsch, who was critical of the government, and his friend Sofia Sapega, who came from Russia. Both were arrested after landing.
The EU, the US, Canada and the UK had expressed concern about the “ongoing attacks by the Lukashenko regime on human rights, fundamental freedoms and international law”. The EU states had previously decided to ban aircraft from Belarus.
In the case of the EU, it was the fourth round of sanctions since the controversial presidential election in Belarus in August and the crackdown on protests by government opponents.