Possible economic sanctions against Belarus can hurt Russian interests and are aimed at regime change in the republic, Russia’s envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said on Thursday.
“Economic sanctions are being consideration,” Chizhov said on state-owned Russia-24 television. “Let’s see what will become of it. The European Union’s position is unclear.”
The sanctions could hurt both Belarus, which has an increasingly export-oriented economy, and Russia, which has close economic ties to Belarus, Chizhov said.
“The final goal of the sanctions is regime change, though sanctions have not toppled a single regime anywhere in the world,” he added.
The already frosty relations between the EU and the authoritarian Belarus worsened in February, when members of the European Union temporarily recalled their envoys from Minsk for consultations. More than 200 Belarusian officials are blacklisted from entering the EU and a number of opposition activists were banned from leaving Belarus in retaliation.