Alexander Lukashenko: The United States issues new sanctions against the Belarusian president and other Russians for human rights violations

A number of other Russians, including a judge, have also been targeted for sanctions for human rights abuses, according to the US Treasury.

The Biden administration has targeted 11 Russian military leaders – some of whom participated in the suppression of Russian protesters and opponents in occupied areas of Ukraine – with new sanctions.

Announcing the measures applied to military leaders, Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken said: “The Russian government has intensified its crackdown on its citizens’ freedom of expression, including against members of the press, as well as freedom of association and peaceful assembly. Today in Russia, those who provide Factual reports of the invasion or criticizing Putin have criminal charges.”

The measure comes as the National Guard “represses Russian citizens who took to the streets to protest their government’s brutal campaign in Ukraine,” Blinken said, adding that the list of Russian military officials targeted includes Viktor Zolotov, head of Russia’s National Guard.

In Belarus, the country in northern Ukraine that played a key role in aiding the Russian offensive, sanctions were applied to the country’s authoritarian leader as well as his wife, Halina. They will block their property and interests in the United States, and prevent Americans from engaging in transactions with them.

“Today’s ratings show that the United States will continue to impose tangible and significant consequences for those who engage in corruption or are associated with serious human rights abuses,” said Andrea Jackie, Director of OFAC. “We condemn the Russian attacks on the humanitarian corridors in Ukraine and call on Russia to stop its brutal and unjustified war against Ukraine,” he added.

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The United States previously imposed sanctions on Lukashenko’s family members in December after the migrant crisis at Belarus’ border with Poland, which led to accusations of human rights abuses.

The United States has previously targeted Belarus with sanctions for its role in supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including expanding export control policies to Belarus and preventing the transfer of technology and software to Russia through the country.

Russian forces were stationed in Belarus prior to the attack on Ukraine, which the two countries claimed was for the exercises. The use of Belarus’ borders was strategically advantageous for Russia because its border with Ukraine is much closer to Kyiv than to Russia’s, providing a shorter path for Russian forces to reach the Ukrainian capital.

The United States announced in February the suspension of operations at its embassy in Belarus. Lukashenko said last month that Belarusian troops could join the invasion “if it becomes necessary”.

In addition to Lukashenkos, the United States targeted four individuals involved in the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died under suspicious circumstances in 2009.

The State Department also announced new visa restrictions on 38 current and former Russian government officials believed to be involved in suppressing dissent in Russia and abroad; new penalties for two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB); visa restrictions on six individuals implicated in attacks on Chechen dissidents living in Europe; and visa restrictions on 25 individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Belarus.

“The world was stunned that Russia launched a premeditated, unprovoked and unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The further Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in widespread human suffering and casualties, including the killing of innocent civilians, including children,” the State Department fact sheet said. Imposing heavy costs on Russian military leaders.

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