Josep Borrell, the European Union’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, turned many heads while trying in the EU Parliament to question Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko’s legitimacy, confusing his country with neighboring Ukraine.
The minister was visibly confused when his forceful remarks were met with some loud commotion in the audience. It was really hard to argue with what he said.
“Lukashenko is not the legitimate president of Ukraine,” Borell proclaimed, while addressing the European Parliament on Monday. ‘For us,’ he added. Well, not only for them, since Lukashenko never claimed to be the leader of that particular country.
“Sorry, Belarus,” Borell apologized, with a wide smile, when he realized his mistake. “We don’t recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus,” he clarified, to avoid any further confusion.
The official then carried on with his speech as planned, urging the country’s government to cease “unlawful arrests” and “violence.” Borell also mentioned that the EU is going to impose sanctions on Belarus and will “review” its relations with the country in general.
Nationwide protests erupted after the August 9 presidential election ended with Lukashenko’s overwhelming victory, which landed him a sixth term in office. Protesters largely coalesced around exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and argued that Lukashenko’s win was a result of fraud.
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