politico – US imposes sanctions on Belarus in response to Ryanair flight crash landing

“We are united in calling on the regime to end its repressive practices against its own people,” the US, Canadian and British governments, as well as the European External Action Service, said on Monday in a joint statement. “We are disappointed that the regime has chosen to withdraw from its human rights obligations, its adherence to democratic principles and its engagement with the international community. “

The coordinated sanctions announced on Monday come in addition to sanctions imposed last month by the Biden administration in response to Belarus’ arrest of journalist Raman Pratasevich and his partner. Pratasevich was on a Ryanair flight between Greece and Lithuania on May 23 when Belarusian authorities faked a bomb threat against the airliner and scrambled planes to force it to land. With the plane on the ground, Pratasevich and his partner were arrested by Belarusian authorities.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has come under increased scrutiny since his re-election last August, a vote widely seen as fraudulently won. Lukashenko’s government cracked down on protesters with mass arrests. Some opposition leaders have left the country.

The joint statement released on Monday by the US, Canada, UK and EU included a call for the Lukashenko regime to cooperate with international investigations into the May 23 flight landing and release all prisoners policies.

The Treasury Department also designated 16 other people and five other entities through Executive Order 13405, a George W. Bush-era executive order aimed at “blocking the property of certain individuals undermining democratic processes or institutions in Belarus.” .

“The United States continues to support international efforts to investigate electoral irregularities in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election and the violent crackdown and abuses that followed,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement. “We support the Belarusian people for their fundamental freedoms.”

According to the State Department, since the August 9 election, the United States has designated 155 Belarusian and Russian nationals under PP 8015, a Bush-era proclamation that restricted travel by members of the Lukashenko government and other officials involved in actions that “undermine or undermine democratic institutions or impede the transition to democracy in Belarus.”

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