| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

US renews sanctions on Belarusian president

As part of its effort to penalize countries that supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US reauthorized sanctions against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and several senior Russian defense officials on Tuesday.

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The United States is taking measures to promote accountability for the Russian and Belarusian governments’ human rights abuses and breaches within and outside their borders, with the backing of friends and partners.”

President Vladimir Putin’s “premeditated, unjustifiable, and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine” was criticized once more by Washington, as was Lukashenko’s “support and assistance of the Russian Federation’s invasion,” he stated.

Since 2006, Lukashenko has been subject to US sanctions, and in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine late last month, Washington has strengthened restrictions on his government and economy.

Lukashenko is “the head of a corrupt administration in Belarus whose patronage network benefits his inner circle and regime,” according to the US Treasury.

His assets have been frozen, all transactions with American businesses have been blocked, and he has been barred from entering the United States. His wife, two adult sons, and a minor son are all subject to the penalty.

New penalties against key Russian defense officials, including eight deputy defense ministers and the director general of a state-controlled organization that trades military items overseas, were also announced by the Treasury.

Viktor Zolotov, the head of Moscow’s National Guard, is among the officials. According to Blinken, the National Guard “has cracked down on Russian citizens who have taken to the streets to protest their government’s brutal campaign in Ukraine” and is also “responsible for suppressing dissent in occupied areas of” Russia’s neighbor.

According to the State Department, two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Agency have been sanctioned for their involvement in torture, while six others have been targeted for attacks on Chechen dissidents in Europe.

Visa restrictions were also enforced by Washington on 25 people accused of “undermining democracy in Belarus.”

  • AFP