Belarusian opposition leader says she handed sanctions list to Biden administration
Tsikhanouskaya, who is in Washington for meetings with senior administration officials, told reporters on Tuesday that she had handed over a list of companies monopolized by the regime of Belarusian strongman President Alexander Lukchenko ” and his cronies ”, including Belarusian potash as well as petroleum, timber and steel companies.
On Tuesday, she met with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and congressional lawmakers and was scheduled to meet with US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power and Acting CEO of the US Agency for Human Rights. global media (USAGM) Kelu Chao. Tsikhanouskaya said she intended to further discuss “possible international efforts to isolate the regime, politically and economically, to make it (Lukashenko) toxic and costly, including for Russia”, through isolation at both tangible and symbolic.
However, she later noted that she did not want to talk too much about Russia “because our fight is not between East and West, our fight is between the past and the future”.
“Our fight is inside Belarus, and we are fighting for common values, for human rights, for the rule of law, for democratic changes, and this is very understandable for states “United. As for Russia, you know, if Russia wants to play a constructive role to get out of the Belarusian crisis, they just have to stop supporting Lukashenko,” adding that she asked the US government to help send the message that if the actors do not want to help the struggle for democracy in Belarus, they should not interfere with it either.
Tsikhanouskaya said she discussed sanctions and civil society support during her meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Toria Nuland and other senior department officials. State Monday. She noted that many Belarusians have had to flee the country, many have lost their jobs, businesses have been closed and the mass media have been destroyed by the Lukashenko regime.
“All of these people are still fighting, but they need help. And we have to look for ways to first provide those on the ground, political prisoners, their relatives, activists on the ground, to provide volunteers with materials to print newspapers, provide lawyers to people, help pay people’s costs so that the regime (does not) place their children in orphanages and (confiscate) property, ”she said. “Of course, it is important to support journalists and mass media, through traditional and (emerging) media like YouTube channels, Telegram channels, because we have to provide information to the world.”
Tsikhanouskaya said they also discussed “justice” at the meeting, “because it is necessary to avoid impunity”.
“We have been collecting evidence of all crimes since August 9. We are accumulating it in one place and the European Union has launched an international accountability platform,” she said, noting that they hoped to translate the perpetrators of the violent repression in Belarus are brought to justice. after the changes were made in the former Soviet state.
Asked by CNN if she thought Lukashenko should be tried before an international body like the International Criminal Court, Tsikhanouskaya said that “it is obvious that Lukashenko is a criminal”, but “it is very difficult to bring him to justice in a court of law. international tribunal because it is in fact protected by immunity. “
“And now many international lawyers are looking for loopholes … because he is not recognized by the majority of countries, you know, how under the constitution he could be released from this immunity and an investigation against him could be open, ”she said.
Tsikhanouskaya, a former teacher whose husband was imprisoned by the Lukashenko regime, described her own plight, saying that although she lives in Lithuania, she still lives in fear every day. She also rejected the title of “leader of the opposition”, saying she “was not leading (the) opposition movement because we are the majority”.
“It is the people themselves who are fighting. Even if Tsikhanouskaya disappears one day for some reason, this uprising, this movement will continue,” she said. “We are not fighting for a leader, we are fighting against the dictatorship.”