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EU threatens Belarus sanctions as it rejects election result

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The European Union has threatened sanctions against those involved in electoral fraud in Belarus.

European Council President Charles Michel said the bloc does not recognise the result of a contentious election which saw incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko claim 80% of the vote.

“The EU will impose shortly sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and election fraud,” he said at the end of a summit of EU leaders on Wednesday.

Mr Michel said the situation in Belarus is “increasingly concerning” and that violence against peaceful protesters was “shocking and unacceptable”.

“We stand by your side in desire to exercise your rights and peaceful, democratic future,” Mr Michel told protesters.Advertisement

Additionally, the European Commission will reroute 53 million euros (£48m) earmarked for Belarus away from the government and towards civil society in the wake of protests and the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the bloc’s executive arm Ursula von der Leyen said.