The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada have announced a new round of sanctions against Belarusian officials and entities for the government’s “ongoing attacks on democracy, human rights and international norms, and the brutal repression of Belarusians”. They have been cited both inside and outside the country,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The US is targeting 32 officials and entities, including state-owned enterprises, that support the government of President Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko’s son Dmitry is also approved.
The US also placed restrictions on the Belarus government’s ability to borrow money.
Lukashenko has been cracking down on political dissent since the August 2020 elections, which the US and EU called a fraud. It is also accused of using migrants as a political weapon against its neighbors such as Poland.
“Today’s action demonstrates our unwavering determination to confront a brutal regime that increasingly represses Belarusians, undermines the peace and security of Europe, and only seeks to live in freedom to those who live in freedom.” These sanctions are also in response to the Lukashenka regime’s harsh exploitation of vulnerable migrants from other countries to organize migrant smuggling along its borders with EU states,” Blinken said.
The EU sanctions are against officials involved in the migrant crisis as well as two airlines – state airline Belavia and Syrian airline Cham Wings – which they say are bringing migrants to Belarus to make the crisis worse.
The UK announced that it will freeze the assets of state-owned OJSC Belaruskali, a large producer of potash fertilizer. Canada said it would approve 32 individuals and entities designated by the US
“Our position is clear,” Blinken said. “The United States calls on the Lukashenko regime to end its crackdown on civil society, independent media, members of the political opposition, athletes, students, legal professionals, and other Belarusians; to immediately release all political prisoners; democratic opposition and to negotiate honestly with civil society; to fulfill its international human rights obligations; to prevent its coercion of vulnerable people; and to conduct free and fair elections under international oversight.”