The E.U. and U.S. coordinate action on Belarus
The verdicts against journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsiom Sarokin triggered another wave of adverse reaction in the West, with the U.S. Embassy in sentences as politically motivated.
The European Union also issued a statement on the matter, assuring continued support for the Belarusian people “in their legitimate desire for democracy and respect for fundamental freedoms” as well as “efforts to gather evidence of torture and repression in Belarus and bring those responsible to justice.”
U.S. President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed to strengthen coordination of EU-US foreign policy actions during telephone talks held on March 5. According to the White House press service, the leaders agreed to coordinate action on issues of common interest, including China, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Western Balkans.
Hostile relations with Lithuania continue. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus has issued an extradition request to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania regarding Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and allegations of criminal acts contrary to public and state security. Lithuania has stated that the request will be denied.
According to the Lithuanian State Security Department’s annual report, published last week, Belarus is a primary source of threats and concerns.
However, there is potential to reduce tensions around the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, at least along the Minsk-Brussels line. On March 4, the European Group of Nuclear Safety Regulators (ENSREG) approved a preliminary assessment report on the plant, concluding that, based on available information and site inspection, progress has been made in implementing recommendations addressing the seven previously identified priority issues.