EU berates Belarus for detaining diplomat

EU berates Belarus for detaining diplomat
President of Belarus Lukashenko - Shutterstock

The European Union on Thursday blasted the authorities in Belarus for briefly detaining a senior EU diplomat in Minsk.

EU spokesman Peter Stano said Brussels had summoned the Belarusian envoy to protest Tuesday's "unacceptable and deplorable" two-hour detention of its charge d'affaires.

"This illegal detention of our diplomat is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that guarantees the personal inviolability of diplomats, and undermines their security in Belarus," Stano said.

The EU diplomat was held by Belarusian police after leaving a court hearing where "10 political prisoners were sentenced to unjustifiably long and harsh sentences", Stano said.

"We have demanded very strongly explanations for this grave incident and stressed that this cannot be repeated," Stano said.

Ties between the EU and Belarus have worsened sharply since President Alexander Lukashenko launched a brutal crackdown on opponents in the wake of a disputed 2020 election.

The EU has imposed sweeping sanctions against Minsk -- including targeting Lukashenko personally -- over the repression and the supporting role played by Belarus in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.