The Kremlin believes that the European Union’s decision not to blacklist Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is a positive sign, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.
When commenting on the fact that Lukashenko was not on the EU’s sanctions list, he said that he was "rather positive" about it.
At the same time, Peskov pointed out that "on the whole, we have a very negative attitude to the policy of sanctions." "In any case, it demonstrates weakness rather than strength," he explained.
"Had top state officials or the head of state been blacklisted, it would have destroyed any possibility of contacts with the country and deprived the EU of the chance to maintain dialogue with Belarus, particularly for the sake of discussing issues of mutual interest," the Russian presidential spokesman noted, TASS reports.
On Friday, European Union leaders agreed on a package of sanctions against some 40 Belarusian officials but held back from blacklisting President Lukashenko. According to the EU, sanctions against Lukashenko would have undermined the EU’s demand for him to launch dialogue with the opposition. However, European Council President Charles Michel reiterated that EU leaders did not recognize the outcome of the Belarusian presidential election.