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EU extends Belarus, Lukashenko sanctions for a year

February 25, 2021 GMT
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures as he arrives for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures as he arrives for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Thursday prolonged sanctions targeting dozens of Belarus officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko, for a year over allegations of fraud in the country’s presidential election last summer and the crackdown on peaceful protesters that followed.

The measures include an asset freeze and bans on traveling in the 27-nation EU for 88 people, including politicians, state security personnel and businesspeople, and asset freezes on seven organizations. EU citizens and companies also are forbidden from providing them with funds.

The sanction also apply to Lukashenko’s son Viktor, who acts as his father’s national security advisor, and are set to remain in force until at least Feb. 28, 2022.

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Protests rocked Belarus for months after official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office by a landslide. The opposition and some poll workers have said the election was rigged. The EU also rejected the results.

Police arrested thousands of people during the anti-government protests.

At a meeting on Monday, EU foreign ministers said they would consider adding more people to the list given “the continuing disrespect for fundamental freedoms and human rights” in Belarus, as well as the ongoing repression of people by Belarusian authorities.