VILNIUS, Lithuania —
While the European Union considers who in Belarus should be sanctioned for alleged election fraud and police brutality, EU member Lithuania proposed its own list Wednesday of those it holds responsible for vote-rigging and violence against peaceful protesters.
The list includes Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s authoritarian leader of 26 years. Official results of an Aug. 9 presidential election handed Lukashenko a sixth term with 80% of the vote, results that opposition activists have rejected and the EU has questioned.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry proposed sanctions against 118 individuals suspected of involvement in brutal crackdowns on protesters demanding Lukashenko’s resignation and 30 of them are suspected of vote-rigging in Belarus.
The list will be reviewed by Lithuanian Interior Minister Rita Tamasuniene, who holds final authority to decide on imposing sanctions. It was not immediately clear when that would happen. If approved, the sanctioned individuals would be banned from entering neighboring Lithuania, which is north of Belarus.
European Union leaders have said they are preparing a list of Belarusians who face sanctions over vote fraud and the crackdown on protesters. EU foreign ministers plan to discuss the issue during an informal two-day meeting in Berlin starting Thursday. A decision is expected in September at the earliest.
People on the EU sanctions list would be barred from entering the bloc’s 27 member countries and have their assets frozen. Belarus is not an EU member.
The relatively small EU nation of Lithuania has played a major role as the protests in Belarus unfold by giving opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya refuge. The official election results gave Tsikhanouskaya, a former English teacher and the wife of a jailed blogger, 10% of the vote.