Lithuania will ease entry restrictions for Belarusians

PM Saulius Skvernelis

Lithuania is going to relax its entry restrictions for Belarusians, as the country is gripped by protests over its disputed presidential elections and violent crackdowns by police. "Belarusian citizens who are coming for humanitarian reasons can enter Lithuania," PM Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday, local media reported.

"We must show solidarity and responsibility. The initial reaction of the European capitals is, to say the least, disappointing. We, the closest neighbours, were as always the the first to react," Skvernelis said. He also called for EU sanctions against the leadership in Minsk.

Protesters in Belarus accuse President Alexander Lukashenko of rigging the vote on Sunday to win a sixth consecutive term. The official runner-up in the election Svetlana Tikhanovskaya left Belarus for Lithuania on Monday.

Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda urged Belarusian authorities "firstly, to de-escalate the situation immediately and to terminate the use of brutal force against its people and secondly, to release all detained protesters and stop their persecution," according to a statement from his office on Wednesday.

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