U.S. imposes new measures pressurizing Belarus president Lukashenko

Source: CGTN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House. /VCG

The United States followed the UK and Canada in ramping up pressure against the government of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko after U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Monday imposing new measures.

According to a White House official, the latest round of sanctions, the largest by the U.S. so far on Belarusian individuals and entities, will target the country’s economy and the Belarusian National Olympic Committee.

One of Belarus’ largest state-owned enterprises and one of the world’s largest producers of potash, Belaruskali OAO, will be blacklisted. The company, whose product is used in fertilizers, is Belarus’ main foreign currency earner.

The Belarusian National Olympic Committee will also be hit with sanctions over accusations it facilitated money laundering, sanctions evasion, and the circumvention of visa bans.

This move follows the refusal of Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to board a flight home during the recently-concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo after she was taken to the airport against her wishes. Tsimanouskaya has since sought refugee status in Poland.

Western governments have sought to escalate their pressure on Lukashenko, who is accused of rigging elections in August last year and cracking down on the opposition to extend his now 27 years in power. Lukashenko has denied rigging the vote.

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