“The United States continues to defend human rights and freedom of expression while working with our allies and partners to hold the Lukashenko regime accountable.” – Biden said in his statement following the signing of the presidential decree imposing sanctions. “Anyone who values human rights, free and fair elections and freedom of expression must stand up to oppression,” he added.
The White House said the current presidential decree will allow the Biden administration to impose sanctions on other members of Lukashenko’s government, including those working in the security, energy, tobacco, construction and transportation sectors of the Belarusian economy. The US Treasury has announced that it will take criminal action against, for example, the Belarus Olympic Committee accused of money laundering and a state-owned company called Belarus OAO, which is accused of illegally funding the government.
“A year ago, the Belarusian people tried to make their voices heard and shape their future through the simplest expression of democracy – elections. Instead of respecting the clear will of the Belarusian people, Lukashenko’s regime committed electoral fraud followed by a brutal crackdown. As stated in Biden’s statement.
In addition to punitive measures, the White House has called on the Minsk government to allow an independent international investigation into the forced landing of a Ryanair plane to Vilnius in May, release all political prisoners and enter into negotiations with democratic opposition and civil society actors.
Lukashenko began his sixth presidential term after last year’s elections that were won by the Belarusian opposition and several Western countries with fraud. After the election of the President of Belarus, the opposition organized protest movements for months, which resulted in the arrest of more than 35,000 people and thousands of abuse and imprisonment.
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