Fearing Western sanctions, Belarus rules out internet restrictions ’for now’

The president of Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko, has suggested that his country should restrict internet access and would do so if the international community would not oppose it, Belarusian state-run news agency Belta has reported.

Speaking at an international counter-terrorism conference in Minsk, Mr Lukashenko said that Belarus, as a sovereign country had “its own point of view on the matter of moral, ethical and legal borders,” when it comes to internet freedom.

“I speak so freely about the matter of the internet because none of you can reproach me for restricting the internet in Belarus even a bit, although we should have,” he stressed, adding that the Belarusian government “does not know how to [restrict the internet] without the civilised world enforcing sanctions.”

“This is why we stay away from the internet for now. It can wait,” he continued.

According to Mr Lukashenko, Belarus will never be able to achieve concrete results in protecting the security of its citizens “without working out common rules, which will be recognised by all members of the international community.”