WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday made the following statement on the situation in Belarus:

“Authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko is trying to steal the election in Belarus. After shutting down the internet and sending riot police to confront peaceful protestors, Lukashenko’s government threated the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya into making a hostage video accepting his victory in the elections. These tactics are unacceptable and signal the weakness of a leader who must resort to force in order to stay in power. I stand with the brave people of Belarus who are demanding freedom from the tyranny, corruption and cronyism that has held back the country for too long. While I support greater ties between the United States and the Belarusian people, now is not the time to be elevating the diplomatic relationship with Lukashenko’s government. Sending an Ambassador to Minsk now, for the first time in over a decade, would signal that the United States condones these actions, and I am prepared to oppose the nomination in the Foreign Relations Committee unless it is withdrawn by the President,” said Murphy.