The Polish and Lithuanian ambassadors to Great Britain, in an article published by the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, asked for the support of the Belarusian state that fell victim to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
Sunday is celebrated as International Day of Solidarity with Belarus, marking six months since protests began against “Europe’s last dictator,” as the article referred to Lukashenko.
“As the Belarusian nation is the victim of a brutal state crackdown following mass protests against the fraudulent presidential election results, we must show our support to the Belarusian people and our gratitude for their courage and strong will,” Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki and Lithuanian Ambassador Besar Renatas Norkus co-wrote with Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in an article published on Sunday.
They recalled that in the six months that had passed since the fraudulent presidential election, Belarusians from all regions and walks of life continued to demand democracy and freedom, showing their perseverance and courage.
“Protesters who are peaceful, battered and injured, remain against the ruthless dictatorship that has used unprecedented violence and police brutality,” the article wrote.
“One of the strong symbols of the Belarusian struggle is the white-red-and-white flag. Any protester who carries this – the flag representing independent Belarus – can be fined, arrested or even beaten. They are punished simply for expressing their desire to fight towards a normal country and democracy, which respects the human rights of its citizens, “write the authors.
“As a European and international community, we must not turn a blind eye to Belarusian suffering, especially since we had a similar experience three decades ago. Just as Europe united to defeat communism 30 years ago, it must lead the way now and show solidarity with the Belarusian people who are strive for a fair and democratic process in their country, “said Rzegocki, Norkus and Eyal.
They point out that just as Poland 40 years ago started a series of revolutions that ended Soviet rule in Central and Eastern Europe and paved the way for democracy in the region, Belarus in August 2020 embarked on a process that cannot be stopped or revoked. They argue that the West should invest in this change and provide support to Belarus, no matter how long.
The authors of the article note that Poland and Lithuania have shown that they are ready to take the lead in defending democratic Belarus. They pointed to the “Solidarity with Belarus” plan announced by Poland and the support provided by the two countries for oppressed Belarusians, medical assistance for victims of violence, assistance for students and scientists, including visa facilitation.
They also pointed out that on the initiative of several member states, including Poland and Lithuania, the European Union adopted three packages of sanctions against nearly 100 people responsible for human rights abuses and seven entities supporting Lukashenko’s regime. In addition, the EU provided EUR 24 million in support to civil society and presented the EU’s economic plan for Belarusian Democrats with specific and long-term comprehensive support for the country.
Rzegocki, Norkus and Eyal also write that Poland, Lithuania and Britain are among the most outspoken supporters of Belarusian civil society and independent media.
“Today, as strong as ever, we condemn the use of force. We call on the Belarusian authorities to refrain from further acts of violence against their own people and to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained unjustly. On this important day, we are stands with Belarus, “they wrote.