Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya is calling for tougher EU sanctions against Belarus' regime.

But the former Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt (M) believes that the EU acted forcefully against the country after the arrest of the regime critic Roman Protasevich on Sunday.

Protasevich was arrested after Belarus forced a passenger plane en route to Lithuania.

The EU has demanded his immediate release and banned flights over the country's airspace.

"Unfortunately, it is not in the EU's power to overthrow dictators in any part of the world, but we can put pressure on them," says Bildt.

"Have more in your back pocket"

He believes that sanctions against President Alexander Lukashenko and other people in power create uncertainty in the system that makes it more difficult for the leader to remain in office.

According to Bildt, the best strategy is not to postpone all sanctions at once, but instead to gradually step up.

- You take certain measures and then you say yes, but we actually have more in the back pocket and then we have even more in the back pocket, he says and continues:

- Make it clear to the desperate dictator over there in Minsk that we have a stepladder with unpleasant measures in store for him.