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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, in Sochi, on May 28. Photo: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday announced new crackdowns against Belarus as punishment for forcing down a Ryanair flight to arrest an opposition journalist.

The big picture: The announcement comes hours after Aleksandr Lukashenko met with ally Vladimir Putin in Sochi. President Biden will be meeting with his Russian counterpart in Geneva on June 16.

Details: The United States on June 3 will reimpose full blocking sanctions against nine state-owned companies, which had previously been granted sanction relief "under a series of General Licenses by the Treasury Department."

  • Belarus has been a target of U.S. sanctions in the past, particularly after Lukashenko claimed victory in a highly disputed election last summer and authorized violent crackdowns on protestors.
  • The European Union announced earlier in the week that it would impose additional economic sanctions following the hijacking.
  • The Treasury Department is also working on a new executive order, which would provide Biden further latitude to increase sanctions against the Lukashenko government and its allies.
  • The White House reiterated its continued cooperation with its European allies, as well as the State Department's travel warning for U.S. citizens.
  • The statement also includes the Federal Aviation Administration's advisory for U.S. passenger airlines to "exercise extreme caution" when flying over Belarus.

What they're saying: "We call on Lukashenka to allow a credible international investigation into the events of May 23, immediately release all political prisoners, and enter into a comprehensive and genuine political dialogue with the leaders of the democratic opposition and civil society groups that leads to the conduct of free and fair Presidential elections under OSCE auspices and monitoring," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on behalf of the White House.

Go deeper ... Biden: U.S. will coordinate with the EU on Belarus response

Go deeper

May 27, 2021 - World

Russia blocks flights that avoid Belarusian airspace

Travelers outside of the Domodedovo Airport outside of Moscow in April 2021. Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Russia Thursday blocked at least two European planes from landing in Moscow because they planned to avoid Belarusian airspace after Belarus diverted a Lithuania-bound flight to detain a government dissident on Monday, U.S. News reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the EU told European airlines not to fly over Belarus, and appears to seek to undermine the bloc's response to the country's strongman leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

45 mins ago - Sports

Axios AM Deep Dive: The Covid Olympics

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Welcome to our Axios AM Deep Dive behind the scenes of the Tokyo Olympics detailing the impact of the COVID pandemic, led by Ina Fried, who's on the ground in Tokyo, plus Kendall Baker, who's covering the Games every day in his Axios Sports newsletter.

Firefighters end search for bodies at Surfside

A picture in the memorial that has photographs of some of the victims from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 15 in Surfside, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Firefighters on Friday concluded their search for bodies at the site of the June 24 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida.

Driving the news: 97 people were killed and one woman, Estelle Hedaya, remains missing.