September 11 – September 17, 2023
Belarus-West relations

Lukashenka calls on neighboring countries for friendship, while the European Parliament calls for an ICC warrant for his arrest

The situation has not changed
Lukashenka calls on neighboring countries for friendship, while the European Parliament calls for an ICC warrant for his arrest

Neighboring countries are disregarding the regime’s plea for good neighborly relations, instead preparing to close new border checkpoints and fortifying the borders in response to recent significant attempts by illegal migrants to breach them. The European Parliament is urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Lukashenka due to alleged crimes against humanity, specifically his involvement in the deportation of Ukrainian children. In response to Western support for the European aspirations of Belarusians, the regime is considering forging an alliance with Russia and the DPRK, and has even symbolically distanced itself from Europe by rejecting the use of the Latin alphabet in Belarusian place names.

Lukashenka recently extended an invitation to neighboring countries to foster friendship and reiterated his warnings of consequences in the event of aggression against Belarus. He asserted that Belarusians are “the most peace-loving nation on earth” and emphasized that his country does not pose any nuclear or “Wagnerian” threats to its neighbors.

However, this call has largely been ignored by neighboring countries due to its perceived disconnect from reality. For instance, there have been ongoing attempts by migrants to breach the Belarusian-Latvian border. On September 10, 256 individuals attempted to illegally cross the Belarusian-Latvian border, with 472 additional attempts recorded over the weekend. Guntis Pujats, the head of the Latvian State Border Guard, intends to propose to the Latvian government the closure of one of the two border checkpoints with Belarus, specifically the Silene (Urbany) checkpoint. Additionally, the Polish Border Guard has initiated a tender for the construction of an electronic fence along the Bug River, which runs along the border with Belarus.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has held Lukashenka accountable for war crimes, along with Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova. It has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Lukashenka.

The European Parliament has condemned the illegal transfer of over 2,150 children, including orphans, from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine to what it calls “health camps” in Belarus, where they are allegedly subjected to Russification and indoctrination. Lukashenka’s actions and those of his regime have also been classified as crimes against humanity, specifically “deportation or forcible transfer of population” under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are also advocating for an expanded list of individuals subject to EU sanctions, which would include those involved in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Belarus.

MEPs have also called on the Belarusian regime to release all political prisoners and have strongly condemned Belarus’s role as an accomplice in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. They have expressed deep concern about Belarus’s growing political, economic, military, and cultural alignment with Moscow, which has effectively turned it into a de facto satellite state with tactical nuclear weapons under Russian control. MEPs are demanding more stringent EU sanctions against Belarus, highlighting that the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) poses new security risks not only for Ukraine but also for Belarus’s EU neighbors and the entire European Union.

The European Parliament has also endorsed the statements made by Tsikhanouskaya and the leaders of Belarusian democratic political parties regarding the European aspirations of Belarusians.

In response to these accusations, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Dzmitry Krutoy has attempted to justify the transfer of Ukrainian children to Belarus, claiming that it was done with the consent of their parents or legal representatives and that the Belarusian Children’s Clinical Center (BCCC) was involved in the process. Igor Sergeenko, the head of the Belarusian Presidential Administration, has attributed the rejection of the Latin alphabet in Belarusian place names to a rejection of Western liberal values and cultural traditions. Finally, Lukashenka himself has suggested that Russia should develop relations with the DPRK as part of a broader shift away from Western countries. In line with this trend, the Belarusian government has decided to close the Belarusian Embassy in Slovakia for one year.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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