Diplomatic source: EU may withdraw ambassadors from Belarus
12:13, — Politics
The decision on this may be taken on Friday in Brussels.
Minsk last Friday expelled the Swedish ambassador. Sweden later kicked out three Belarusian envoys. And Belarus on Wednesday expelled all remaining Swedish diplomats in Minsk. Yesterday it was announced the closure of the Belarusian Embassy in Stockholm
"Recalling the EU ambassadors for consultations is the minimum that we can do. The situation has seriously escalated and this would be a natural step," one EU diplomatic contact said.
A source from another EU country noted: "The ball is in Sweden's court, but everybody wants to express solidarity with them."
He said further options include calling in all Belarus ambassadors in EU capitals for consultations.
Neither Sweden nor the EU External Action Service have put forward any proposals yet.
The diplomatic row came after the Swedish teddy bear drop.
As charter97.org already reported, a light Swedish aircraft overflew the Belarusian border on July 4. Teddy bears with pro-democracy labels were dropped from the plane over the town of Ivyanets and on the outskirts of Minsk. The Belarusian authorities refused to admit the fact of flight until July 26 saying “the investigation was under way”. Photographer Anton Surapin, who published photos of teddy bears found near Ivyanets on the internet, and estate agent Syarhei Basharymau, who rented an apartment to the Swedes, were detained and charged with aiding the illegal border crossing. Both may face up to seven years in prison.
Lukashenka dismissed head of the State Border Committee Major General Ihar Rachkouski and commander of the Air and Air Defence Forces Major General Dzmitry Pakhmelkin.
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