EU on course to lift Belarus sanctions despite vote concerns
Belarus’s election fell short of democratic standards, monitors said on Monday after President Alexander Lukashenko won a fifth term, but Europe still looked set to ease sanctions as France and Germany welcomed a lack of political repression.
Moves by Lukashenko, including the pardoning of six opposition figures before the election, suggest Lukashenko could be seeking to improve his image abroad to rely less on his ally Russia, which is under Western sanctions due to the Ukraine conflict.
"It is clear that Belarus still has a long way to go towards fulfilling its democratic commitments," said Kent Hasted, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s observer mission for the election, in a statement.
The Russian side is grateful to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko for his decision to go to Russia as the visit after the presidential election, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Belarus Alexander Surikov said in an interview with the STV channel, BelTA has learned.
“We are grateful for this decision,” the Ambassador said.