Mar 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. sanctions Belarus President Lukashenko and others


Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Treasury Department on Tuesday announced sanctions against Belarus strongman Aleksandr Lukashenko, his wife and several Russians "connected to gross violations of human rights."

Why it matters: Belarus has backed Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, allowing attacks on Ukraine to be launched from its territory.

  • An earlier set of sanctions targeted Belarus' technology exports and sanctioned entities that have supported the Belarusian security services, military and defense sectors.

The big picture: While Lukashenko has been sanctioned before, the Treasury Department said it was "re-designating" him, noting that in his nearly 30 years in power he has corruptly used his influence to "grant unique privileges and advantages to his associates" while targeting those who have opposed him.

  • Lukashenko's wife, Halina, has been sanctioned for the first time, "for being a senior-level official, family member of such an official, or a person closely linked to such an official who is responsible for or has engaged in public corruption related to Belarus."
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that Lukashenko and his immediate family members would be banned from entry to the U.S.
  • Several Russians were also sanctioned for their connections to the detention and death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky and for "gross violations of human rights" against human rights advocate Oyub Titiev.

What they're saying: “Today’s designations demonstrate the United States will continue to impose concrete and significant consequences for those who engage in corruption or are connected to gross violations of human rights,” Andrea Gacki, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

  • “We condemn Russia’s attacks on humanitarian corridors in Ukraine and call on Russia to cease its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine," Gacki added.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

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