Belarus has withdrawn its ambassador to the UK in response to “hostile measures” taken by British authorities, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz told the Belta news agency on Friday.
Minsk’s decision to reduce the country’s diplomatic presence in the UK and downgrade it to a charge d’affaires level has been taken “in connection with a number of hostile measures taken by the UK, systematically aimed at causing maximum harm to Belarusian citizens and legal entities”, Glaz explained.
According to the spokesman, Belarus found it impossible to hold a meaningful dialogue with the UK after imposing “unprecedented” sanctions targeting Belarusian citizens, employees, businesses, economy, media and airlines. He specifically mentioned the decision to withdraw visas for Belarusian MPs who were due to attend the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in early July.
He added that the ambassador’s withdrawal did not mean that the country would close communication channels with London.
“We have taken no action against this country and, as always, call for a mutually respectful and constructive dialogue,” Glaz said. He added that Belarus would only consider re-establishing its diplomatic presence in the UK after the current “internal political spectacle” is over and responsible politicians are appearing in the British government.
On July 4, the UK introduced its latest round of economic, trade and transport sanctions against Belarus for its support of Moscow and the ongoing military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions involved a ban on the import of Belarusian steel and iron into the UK as well as a ban on the export of high-tech components to Belarus.
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