top of page

The Latvian Foreign Minister humiliated Lukashenko. What happened?

Pavel Latushka: Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Ambassador

Today, on March 18, prior to the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting, which included a discussion on the situation in Belarus, Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš  made a statement suggesting that sanctions against the Lukashenko regime should be aligned with those imposed on Russia. In other words, the sanctions applied to Russia should be fully applied to the Lukashenko regime to prevent any circumvention.

The minister justified this by citing "Russia's complete effective control over Belarus." Personally, as a Belarusian politician, I find the wording quite harsh and unpleasant. It would be more accurate, in my opinion, to describe the situation as a serious threat to the sovereignty and independence of Belarus due to Russian influence.

However, it is important to acknowledge that the fact that Belarus provided its territory for an attack on Ukraine and the so-called "integration agreements" does indicate that military control over Belarus is exerted to a greater extent by the Kremlin than by Minsk. Additionally, in several key areas of life and the country's economy, Russia's control is increasing due to the actions of the Lukashenko regime. The longer this regime remains in power, the higher the risks become for Belarus to find itself in the exact situation described by the Latvian minister. As Belarusians, we must not allow this under any circumstances.

Regarding the minister's remarks, it should be noted that the already failed foreign policy of the Lukashenko regime has suffered another setback. No matter how much the dictator tries to assert his sovereignty in decision-making or hopes to be seen as legitimate or at least independent, the words of the head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry completely undermine those hopes. Lukashenko is a failed politician, a puppet at the beck and call of the Kremlin.

Unfortunately, by losing its political autonomy, the Lukashenko regime is eroding the sovereignty of our state, the Republic of Belarus.

Therefore, the sooner our country rids itself of this figure, the sooner we, as Belarusians, can free ourselves from Russian control and fully restore our sovereignty and independence. This will also contribute to Ukraine's victory.

One of the most crucial steps on this path is to eliminate opportunities for Russia to bypass sanctions through Belarus, a topic that high-level Western politicians are increasingly discussing. This is why the synchronization (or harmonization) of sanctions is necessary, along with a ban on the transit of sanctioned goods through our country. The cost of war for Russia should be maximized, and aggression should not be fueled by resources coming from outside. Simultaneously, the puppet regime of Lukashenko should lose the resources necessary to support the war and its own existence.

Of course, sanctions alone cannot win a war, and they may not be sufficient to remove the Lukashenko regime. However, they are an important tool that should be used effectively. Western partners must also demonstrate political will and provide Ukraine with all the necessary support to defeat the aggressor. Resistance within Belarus, at all levels, including grassroots movements, is crucial. Both we, as Belarusians, and our partners in the West and Ukraine need to understand that Belarus without Lukashenko means Belarus without Russia, and therefore without a threat to its existence or its neighbors, including Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia.

I am confident that this is what we all aspire to see in Belarus—a Belarus where Belarusians can find agreement among themselves and with their neighbors, all without the presence of Lukashenko.




bottom of page