On the anniversary of the presidential elections in Belarus, which led to a wave of protests and a new round of political repression, the United States imposed new sanctions against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. In particular, Belaruskali, Absolut Bank, the National Olympic Committee and businessmen close to the authorities fell under the restrictions. About sanctions informs White House website.
“President Joseph Biden signed a decree providing for further consequences for Alexander Lukashenko and his regime for continuing pressure on the democratic aspirations and rights of the Belarusian people, transnational repression and abuse, corruption, encroachment on international norms,” the statement says.
The blacklist lists the state-owned company Belaruskali – “one of the world’s largest potash producers and a source of illicit wealth for the regime [Лукашенко]”,” Absolut Bank “and 14 other companies” working in the tobacco, construction, energy and transport sectors of the Belarusian economy. ” They are connected with businessmen who support the Lukashenka regime. These entrepreneurs were also on the sanctions list.
Also, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Belarus, which is accused of “facilitating money laundering, evading sanctions and evading visa bans, and failing to protect Belarusian athletes from political discrimination and repression”, fell under the restrictions.
A complete list of 23 individuals and 21 organizations subject to the new sanctions, published on the website of the US Treasury. The document states that the restrictions will also affect the Belarusian Investigative Committee.
The White House message emphasizes that the sanctions pressure on Lukashenka will not abate until he fulfills a number of requirements: he must allow an international investigation in connection with the emergency landing of the liner Ryanair, release all political prisoners, end political repression and start a dialogue with the opposition and civil society representatives, which will culminate in a free and fair presidential election monitored by the OSCE.
The American authorities imposed sanctions against the NOC against the background of an international scandal around the Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, who refused to return from the Tokyo Olympics to his homeland due to a conflict with the leadership of the national team. Before that, the athlete on Instagram criticized Belarusian officials for putting her on a distance for which she did not prepare. After that, the Olympic Committee of Belarus withdrew the application for the runner to participate in the Games.
The Belarusian delegation took the athlete to Tokyo airport to send her home, but there the athlete turned to the Japanese police for protection. Timanovskaya spent the night at the airport, after which she was taken to the Polish embassy, which agreed to grant her asylum. On August 4, Timanovskaya flew from Tokyo to Vienna, and then to Warsaw. The athlete explained her refusal to return home by the fact that in Belarus she “could be put in jail.”
New sanctions against Belarus in the United States began to prepare against the backdrop of the visit to Washington of the leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. In late July, Tihanovskaya, who was a presidential candidate in last year’s elections and Lukashenka’s main rival, met with Biden at the White House. According to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, she gave the US President a list of companies controlled by Lukashenka “and his accomplices.” It includes Belaruskali, as well as enterprises of the oil, timber and steel industries. She also asked Biden to help Belarusians make a “non-violent transition to democracy”.