European Union states have reached an agreement to recall all their ambassadors from Belarus after Minsk requested the EU and Polish ambassadors to leave the country, Reuters reported on Tuesday citing diplomatic sources.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry advised earlier on Tuesday that the head of the EU delegation to Belarus, Ambassador Maira Mora, and Polish Ambassador Leszek Szerepka leave the country. Minsk also recalled its ambassadors from Warsaw and Brussels.
European Parliament President Martin Schultz said Minsk's decision to recall its Ambassador to Poland Viktor Gaisenok and Ambassador to the EU Andrei Yevdochenko was a "hostile act."
The ambassadors were told to “leave for their capitals for consultations to inform their leadership of Belarus’ firm position that pressure and sanctions are unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said.
EU members on Monday agreed to expand a black list of Belarusian officials subjected to restrictive measures, namely police officers and court officials considered responsible for arrests and condemnation of opposition activists. The sanctions envision an asset freeze and an EU entry ban.
Belarus will also ban entry to the country for those EU officials who contributed to the introduction of the new sanctions, Savinykh said.
“The Council of Europe’s decision testifies that the EU continues to pursue a policy of open pressure. We have repeatedly explained at all levels that this policy has no prospects in relations with the republic of Belarus,” he said.