Belarus - Statement by Vice President Joe Biden

For more than two months, the people of Belarus have peacefully protested to demand an end to the brutal dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenka. The Lukashenka regime has responded with bullets, stun grenades, mass detentions, and torture. Uncowed by repression, workers across Belarus launched a nationwide general strike to pressure Lukashenka to relinquish power. Although President Trump refuses to speak out on their behalf, I continue to stand with the people of Belarus and support their democratic aspirations. I also condemn the appalling human rights abuses committed by the Lukashenka regime.

No leader who tortures his own people can ever claim legitimacy. That is why the international community should significantly expand its sanctions on Lukashenka’s henchmen and freeze the offshore accounts where they keep their stolen wealth. As President, I will also work with our European partners and allies to lay out a plan of economic support for a truly sovereign, democratic Belarus. Until then, I will continue to join Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and the people of Belarus in calling for the peaceful transfer of power, the release of all political prisoners, and free and fair elections so the Belarusian people are finally able to exercise the democratic rights for which they have sacrificed so much.