Lukashenko vows retaliation if sanctions imposed

President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday said Belarus would take the toughest retaliation if the EU imposes sanctions and accused Germany and Poland of seeking to oust him through election protests.

"If someone tries to impose economic or any other kind of sanctions we must react swiftly and prepare retaliatory measures, right up to the very toughest," Lukashenko told a government meeting, according to his press service.

The European Union said on Wednesday it would reinstate a travel ban on Lukashenko if he fails to release his jailed opponents. Washington is also exploring a range of possible sanctions.

The Belarus strongman is facing international isolation after his landslide re-election win in disputed December 19 presidential polls and the tough crackdown on the opposition that followed.

Lukashenko also lashed out against EU member states Poland and Germany, which have led criticism of the crackdown, for seeking to topple him by instigating protests on election day.

"You must have seen how furiously the Germans and the Poles are attacking Belarus... All the plans and most of the money came from Germany and Poland or went through them.

"It was there that plans for overturning the constitutional order were drawn up."


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