On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK is coordinating with the US and Canada to sanction individuals in Belarus over the August 9th presidential election. The official results gave Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko 80 percent of the vote, but the opposition rejected the results and called for new elections.
“We are coordinating with the United States and Canada to prepare appropriate listings as a matter of urgency,” Raab told UK parliament. The minister said a “whole range of potential individuals” are being considered for sanctions, but did not mention any officials by name.
The announcement came a day after Lukashenko was sworn in for another term. The US, UK, and EU rejected Lukashenko’s inauguration and said they would not recognize his presidency.
“The United States cannot consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimately elected leader of Belarus. The path forward should be a national dialogue leading to the Belarusian people enjoying their right to choose their leaders in a free and fair election under independent observation,” the US State Department said on Wednesday.
Tensions have simmered between Russia and NATO since the disputed election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown his support behind Lukashenko, and Moscow has pledged security assistance if Belarus faces external threats. Lukashenko has accused NATO of building troops on Belarus’ border to depose the embattled president, but the alliance denies this and maintains that it is a purely defensive force. Belarus borders three NATO countries to its west; Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.