UK becomes latest nation to withdraw envoy from Belarus

Published October 10, 2020, 5:40 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Britain has joined several eastern European nations in withdrawing its ambassador from strife-torn Belarus in protest at President Alexander Lukashenko’s expulsion of diplomats from Poland and Lithuania.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reacts as he arrives in Downing Street in central London on October 6, 2020. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

In a tweet late Friday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK “condemns Belarus’ decision to expel Polish & Lithuanian diplomats”. 

“Completely unjustified and will only isolate the Belarusian people. In solidarity, we are temporarily recalling our Ambassador for consultations on the situation in Belarus,” he said.

The ambassadors of Lithuania and Poland were recalled on Monday after Minsk accused them of backing mass protests that have erupted against Lukashenko since a disputed election on August 9.

Following a demand from Belarus, Poland and Lithuania recalled a further 35 diplomats on Friday.

Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia and Latvia have all withdrawn their own ambassadors to Belarus.

In late September, Britain and Canada became the first major nations to slap sanctions on Lukashenko over the former Soviet republic’s political crisis.

They imposed sanctions on Lukashenko, his son and senior regime figures for a string of alleged human rights violations.