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Russia-Belarus military drills near Polish border as protests continue

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Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has urged the EU to step up its support for her movement

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya appealed to European Union lawmakers on Monday to blacklist officials who've helped President Alexander Lukashenko thwart a "democratic revolution".

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya holds talks with European Union foreign ministers Monday as they prepare sanctions against the Minsk regime over election rigging and a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

Officials said President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term in office with 80 percent support in that vote but opponents and some poll workers say the results were rigged.

The European Parliament has threatened to expand the list if human rights violations are not curbed-more than 7000 protesters have been detained and 158 hospitalised, along with widespread reports of beatings and torture.

Tsikhanouskaya said "sanctions are very important in our fight" to help pressure the government and that while she understood that some European countries are reluctant to impose sanctions, she said that "at this meeting, I asked just to be more courageous".

The mass protest followed a police crackdown Saturday on peaceful women demonstrators who wore shiny accessories for a "Sparkly March".

"If we are not able to (approve Belarus sanctions), then our credibility is at stake", Borrell told a news conference.

"We have to conclude that nothing has improved in the last weeks".

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba has called on the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the situation in Belarus and warned Russian Federation against further destabilization of the region.

"I once again emphasize our willingness to talk with the authorities and look for peaceful solution to the crisis that has affected our nation", added Tskihanouskaya, who fled her homeland for Lithuania during the protests.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized the European Union and accused Brussels of trying to "disturb the boat" in Belarus, which Moscow considers a strategic buffer zone against the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

In addition to scholarships, the Slovak Republic will also offer Belarusian students the opportunity to complete their first year of learning the language if necessary, and after that, they will be eligible to apply for studies at any programme in the Slovak higher education institutions.

The EU said in late August it would impose asset freezes and travel bans on Belarusian officials.

Officers arrested more than 200 demonstrators, including an elderly woman.

It comes as Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is facing regular protests calling on him to resign.

"They are marching despite being constantly menaced and put under pressure", she said.

Opposition leader faced attempts to block her video message at United Nations address.

The EU developments on imposing sanctions have been recent, although Lukashenko has accumulated a massive amount of power throughout his 26 years in charge of Belarus.

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, one of the strongest advocates for Belarus sanctions, said he hoped other EU countries "will not keep the European Union in limbo and will not take (it) hostage". The issue has also become entangled in a separate debate about sanctions on Turkey over its energy dispute with Cyprus.

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