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My plenary speech on the prosecution of opposition and trade union representatives in Belarus

24. Mai 2022

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President, Commissioner, dear Colleagues,

When we condemn Putin for his cruelty in Ukraine, we should never forget that he is not acting alone. The missiles on Lviv, Kyiv, and Vinnytsia were fired from Belarus. Russian troops entered Bucha and Irpin from Belarus in Gomel. When the Russians started to retreat from Kyiv, they used places in Belarus to send the looted goods.

Russians did all this because the Belarussian dictator Aliaksandr Lukashenka allowed them to do so. Before he became an accomplice of atrocities in Ukraine, Lukashenka spent 27 years torturing his own people.

In 2020, we saw the awakening of the free Belarusian spirit. Hundreds of thousands marched in the streets with flowers and white-red flags. They were brutally crushed by Lukashenka’s militia. Only because we do not hear the voices of the victims, does not mean that the violence has stopped. On the contrary, the number of political prisoners in Belarus reached more than 1 200. Among them are the trade union leaders and many other innocent representatives who got arrested last April. Their “crime” is the resistance to the violent regime and the demand for fundamental freedoms.

As the sanctions are starting to become effective and the income of Lukashenka’s regime is drying up, the fall of the regime is inevitable. Our decisive actions now should speed up this fall. Lukashenka belongs to the international criminal court, right next to Mr. Putin.