President Aleksandr Lukashenko Threatens to Block Goods Transport
The controversial Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko threatens to halt international goods transport through his country if the European Union imposes sanctions against his regime, state news agency Belta reports.
Lukashenko is also threatening to boycott the ports in neighbouring Lithuania.
Possible sanctions against Belarus were discussed on Thursday by the foreign ministers of the EU member states. They want to put pressure on Lukashenko to enter into a dialogue with the opposition.
Supporters of the Belarusian opposition have taken to the streets en masse since the presidential elections on August 9.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet Republic with a heavy hand for 26 years, claims to have won it with 80 percent of the vote. The opposition and the EU argue that this result came about through electoral fraud.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that she has tried to call Lukashenko. However, he refused to speak to Merkel.
Lukashenko also agitated against the EU on Friday by putting half of the army on alert for “threats from the west,” Belta said. Analysts have argued that Lukashenko is trying to divert attention from domestic discontent by feigning or provoking an international crisis.