BRUSSELS

The EU leaders will hold an emergency meeting on the Belarussian crisis Wednesday afternoon.

The European heads of states and governments are expected to give a green light for introducing sanctions against the individuals involved in human rights violations and the falsification of the results of the presidential elections held earlier this month.

“Without any doubt, sanctions will be reinforced this afternoon”, EU Commissioner For Internal Market Thierry Breton said in a morning interview to the French Radio 1.

Measures against Belarus, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban targeting four individuals, have been in force since 2004.

The bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will possibly present a new sanctions list based on the consent given by EU foreign affairs ministers on Friday. The measures are expected to target individuals. In the future, the bloc can also consider introducing economic sanctions on Belarussian state companies.

The EU has called on the Belarusian authorities to halt violence against peaceful protesters. The bloc’s top diplomat has also said that the EU rejected the election results.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin that President Alexander Lukashenko should start negotiations with the Belarussian opposition.

Mass protests against the results of the presidential elections have been going on since Aug. 9 across Belarus.

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said Monday that she is “ready to lead the nation” through a transitional period in order to end the unrest and organize “in the shortest terms” a new “fair and open presidential election”.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years, won the election with 80.1% of votes, according to the state’s official results. His main rival Tikhanovskaya scored only 10.12%.

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