for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up
World News

UK sends two Belarus diplomats packing in tit-for-tat expulsion

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain expelled two Belarusian diplomats on Tuesday in response to two of its own diplomats being expelled from Belarus, saying it would not be “cowed” by President Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

London also summoned the Belarusian ambassador to deliver a message that it believes the only way forward is for fresh elections to be held and for those responsible for violence against demonstrators to be held to account.

“We have sent a clear message today to Lukashenko’s regime that their unjustified expulsion of British diplomats has consequences,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“The UK will continue to hold the Belarusian authorities to account for the rigged election in August and their ongoing use of violence to suppress the Belarusian people.”

He said on Twitter the UK would not be cowed by the attempts of Lukashenko’s regime to stop Britain from speaking out.

Britain and Canada imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Lukashenko, his son and other senior officials in September, accusing their government of rigging an election and committing violence against protesters.

Britain’s Foreign Office said on Tuesday it saw its actions as “a proportionate and appropriate response” after its representatives were expelled for what London said was “legitimate observation of protests in Minsk on Sunday”.

Reporting by William James and Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison and Paul Sandle

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up