The U.S. and Britain Monday announced a new series of sanctions on Belarus to punish the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, for recent crackdowns on political opponents.  

The U.S. will sanction several “individuals and entities … for their role in attacks on democracy and human rights, transnational repression, and corruption,” according to a statement from President Joe Biden. 

“Rather than respect the clear will of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenko regime perpetrated election fraud, followed by a brutal campaign of repression to stifle dissent,” Biden’s statement read. “From detaining thousands of peaceful protesters, to imprisoning more than 500 activists, civil society leaders, and journalists as political prisoners, to forcing the diversion of an international flight in an affront to global norms, the actions of the Lukashenko regime are an illegitimate effort to hold on to power at any price.” 

FILE – Women wearing carnival masks march down the streets under umbrellas with the colors of the former white-red-white flag of Belarus to protest against the Belarus presidential election results in Minsk, on Jan. 26, 2021.

British sanctions will target the country’s petroleum and potash industries. They will also prohibit the purchase of certain Belarusian money market instruments and securities. Additionally, the sanctions will prevent the country’s air carriers from flying over or landing in the United Kingdom.  

“These measures represent a significant additional step in bringing pressure to bear on the Lukashenko regime,” Britain’s Foreign Ministry said.  

“They are carefully targeted to build pressure on Lukashenko, state institutions and those around him to change behavior, while minimizing, as far as possible, any unintended consequences on the wider population in Belarus.”  

So far, Western sanctions have been ineffective in moderating Lukashenko’s behavior. He has been in power since 1994.  

In response to the British sanctions, which were announced earlier, Lukashenko said Britain could “choke on” them.  

“You are America’s lapdogs,” he said.  

Britain and the U.S. have already targeted Belarusian individuals by freezing assets and imposing travel bans.  

Belarus has been experiencing political turmoil since President Lukashenko was re-elected in what many Western countries called a rigged election in August of last year.    

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.  


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