(Washington) The United States on Monday will announce a round of sanctions against Belarusian personalities, corporations and corporations who increase pressure on Alexander Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime, a senior White House official told AFP.
Posted on Aug 9, 2021 at 9:22 am
Aurélia END Agence France-Presse
A year after the election, which he considers “fraudulent”, for the President of Belarus, Joe Biden will sign a decree that will tighten the US sanctions regime, which has been in place since 2006, and extends it to several key sectors of the economy.
The American announcement comes shortly after the annual press conference of the Belarusian president, who announced his victory again in a “completely transparent” election in the face of an opposition that was preparing a “coup”.
With the direct implementation of this new presidential decree, the US Treasury Department will, according to the senior official, impose its “most significant sanctions to date” against companies, personalities and corporations in Belarus.
Among them the Belarusian National Olympic Committee. Shortly after sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she was the victim of an attempted forced repatriation from the Tokyo Olympics, the institution was targeted for criticizing sports officials in her country.
The young woman who says she is afraid of prison is now in Poland, a neighbor of Belarus and an ardent supporter of the opposition in exile.
In addition to this scandal, the “inability” [de cette institution] in order to protect athletes from political repression ”, the USA accuses the Belarusian Olympic Committee of“ facilitating money laundering ”.
Washington will also sanction publicly traded Balruskali OAO, one of the world’s largest producers of potash-based fertilizers, “the regime’s source of illegal fortification,” according to the same source.
Also targeted are “economic leaders who support the regime”, as well as fifteen companies with which these people are affiliated, including the private bank Absolutbank, and finally “entities” operating in the tobacco, construction, energy and energy sectors Traffic are active.
These sanctions are the result of “the ongoing offensive against democratic aspirations and the rights of the Belarusian people”, but also “violations of international rules” and “corruption” of the regime, said the high-ranking American official.
The United States is calling on Alexander Lukashenko, among others, to “immediately release all political prisoners” and to enter into a “dialogue” with the opposition in order to organize a free presidential election, otherwise, according to the source, “the American government” will continue to run make use of their powers of sanction.
These American sanctions also come at a time of great tension between the United States and Russia from Vladimir Putin, the main ally of the Belarusian president.
Joe Biden received the Belarusian opponent in exile Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at the White House on July 28, a strong sign of support for those who claim to have won the 2020 presidential election.
Since that election, the Belarusian president has exercised a repression that will intensify against all forms of political opposition and criticism from civil society.
Last week, for example, was marked by the opening of the trial of one of the great figures in the 2020 protest, Maria Kolesnikova, and the suspected death of activist Vitali Chychov, who was found hanged in Ukraine.
The Belarusian President denied any involvement in this death on Monday and launched during his annual press conference: “Chichev, but who is it for me or for Belarus?” […] there is no one for us who would have gone to hang him? “.
He also attacked sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya: “She would never have done that. [critiqué les entraîneurs biélorusses, NDLR] alone, it was controlled remotely by his Polish friends, ”he said.
These cases come after months of mass arrests, forced evictions of opponents and the liquidation of a number of NGOs and independent media outlets.
The Belarusian regime is also accused of hijacking a commercial aircraft in May under the pretext of a bomb threat in order to arrest the dissident and journalist Roman Protassevich on board.