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West's Sanctions on Minsk Aim at Provoking New Wave of Anti-Government Protests, Moscow Says

© Sputnik / Ruslan Krivobok / Go to the mediabankView of Minsk. (File)
View of Minsk. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The purpose of the Western sanctions pressure on Minsk is to provoke a new wave of anti-government protests across Belarus, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin said.
"If we talk about Belarus, we perfectly understand that the purpose of the sanctions pressure exerted on Minsk is to deliberately bring down the standard of living of ordinary citizens, provoke a new wave of anti-government protests. How else can one explain the imposition of restrictions on entire sectors of the Belarusian industry, its largest enterprises, on which the welfare of hundreds of thousands of Belarusians depends?" Pankin said.
Numerous sanctions introduced by the West against Belarus that affect Russia are more like a punishment for Minsk for its friendship with Moscow, Alexander Pankin said.
"In October, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Russian-Belarusian integration. How does this fit in with the concern about the state of democracy in Belarus itself, declared by the initiators of the sanctions? It is more like a punishment for friendship with Russia," Pankin said.
The diplomat recalled that last December, the US Congress adopted the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act, which provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions against Russian citizens and representatives of the Union State, while the EU blacklisted two Russians.
Migrants queue to receive food at the transport and logistics centre Bruzgi on the Belarusian-Polish border, in the Grodno region, Belarus November 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.12.2021
Antony Blinken: US Preparing Additional Sanctions on Belarus in Coordination With EU
Moscow and Minsk are coordinating their efforts to take measures in response to Western sanctions, Pankin added.
"Russia supports Belarus in resisting the West's pressure. We are pursuing a coordinated policy of taking response measures, joint 'stop lists,' helping to mitigate the negative social and economic consequences of restrictions for Belarusian citizens. We will continue this close cooperation with Minsk," Pankin said.
After the presidential election held in Belarus on 9 August 2020, in which Alexander Lukashenko won for the sixth time with 80.1% of the vote, massive opposition protests took place in the country. Relations between Belarus and Western countries after the election deteriorated sharply, with a number of them gradually introducing sanctions against Belarusian officials, as well as enterprises, accusing Minsk of election and human rights violations.
Lukashenko has since repeatedly accused the West of directly interfering in Belarusian affairs, claiming that the unrest is directed by the United States, with Europeans merely going along with it. Among the countries from which these protest actions are coordinated, he named Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Ukraine.
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