Belarus on Tuesday slammed the latest US and UK sanctions, accusing the West of wanting to overthrow strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko and using the country’s human rights record as a cover.
“Hiding behind the hypocritical slogans of protecting human rights and democracy, our Western opponents are in fact guided by cold geopolitical calculations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry charged the West with single-mindedly pushing for a “change of power in Belarus” and undermining the nation’s sovereignty.
Minsk said it would carefully study the latest US, UK and Canadian sanctions and “adopt adequate retaliatory measures”.
Western governments have punished Lukashenko’s regime with waves of sanctions over a crackdown on dissent in Belarus that began a year ago when the country erupted in protests against his rule.
On Monday the United States, Britain and Canada announced new penalties on Belarus.
During an eight-hour news conference on Monday, 66-year-old Lukashenko denounced the United States and Britain for imposing new sanctions on his regime and insisted he won a “totally transparent” vote.”
“You are risking starting World War III,” he said. “Is that what you are trying to push us and the Russians to?”