The US, Canada and the UK put pressure on Belarus one year after the “fraudulent re-election” of President Lukashenko
The Government of the United States, supported by those of the United Kingdom and Canada, announced a new battery of sanctions against the Belarusian regime in retaliation for what they consider a “brutal campaign of repression” against the opposition, which began precisely a year ago, with a controversial election that Washington has directly described as “electoral fraud.” The EU put this threat on the table on Sunday.
“A year ago, the people of Belarus wanted their voices to be heard and define their future through the most basic expression of democracy,” recalled US President Joe Biden, referring to the vote that granted Alexander Lukashenko his sixth term. consecutive. “Instead of respecting the clear will of the Belarusian people,” Biden said, Minsk opted for a crackdown that resulted in “thousands” of protesters arrested and a series of actions that would demonstrate Lukashenko’s willingness to “stay in power through any price”.
The new sanctions approved yesterday include companies such as the state-owned Belaruskali OAO, key in the production of potash, and other firms linked to tobacco, construction, energy or transportation to the black list. The measures also affect the banking sector, for example with the incorporation of the private entity Absolutbank.
Washington also targets the Belarusian National Olympic Committee, accused of facilitating money laundering and evasion of sanctions and of failing to protect athletes like Kristsina Tsimanuskaya, now a refugee in Poland, from “discrimination and political repression”.
In his annual meeting with the press and the dignitaries of the regime, Lukashenko yesterday once again proclaimed his victory in a “totally transparent” election against an opposition preparing a “coup d’etat.” In addition, he denied the existence of repression in the country. “I do not need it. What repression? Have I shot someone? Have I killed someone? The Belarusian president thus rejected the suspicions that weigh on the regime for the death of the exiled dissident Vitali Shishov, found hanged in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, where he resided.