EU foreign ministers are to meet to discuss the crisis in Belarus, with the possibility of sanctions on the table.
Women in Minsk and elsewhere across Belarus on August 12 wore white and carried flowers as they formed human chains to protest against the massive security crackdown since the country’s presidential election.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in power since 1994, won a sixth term in the country’s presidential election on August 9 amid opposition allegations the vote was rigged. Lukashenka’s main competitor, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has left Belarus and is now in neighboring Lithuania.
No vote under Lukashenka has been deemed free or fair by the West.
Thousands poured into the streets soon after polls closed on August 9 and a state-sponsored exit poll showed Lukashenka winning in a landslide over Tsikhanouskaya whose campaign gained momentum as the vote neared. She attracted huge crowds at rallies across the country.
The West, including Washington, has condemned the election and the crackdown that has followed. The European Union has said it is considering placing fresh sanctions on Belarus.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking about the contentious Belarusian presidential election and the ensuing police crackdown against peaceful protesters, says that “we want good outcomes for the Belarusian people, and we’ll take actions consistent with that.”