U.S. and UK impose sanctions on Lukashenko’s associates

The U.S. imposed sanctions on 43 citizens of Belarus in response to the sentencing of two journalists of Belsat TV channel, as well as crackdown on peaceful protesters, pro-democracy activists, and journalists.

The names of those sanctioned have not been published, but it is specified that they are "high-ranking justice sector officials; law enforcement leaders and rank-and-file personnel who detained and abused peaceful demonstrators; judges and prosecutors involved in sentencing peaceful protesters and journalists to prison terms; and academic administrators who threatened students for participation in peaceful protests".

These individuals are banned entry to the United States. There are already 109 people on the sanctions list, said the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. "The Belarusian people deserve free and fair elections," he added.

On Thursday, February 18, the British authorities also announced new sanctions due to the situation in Belarus. According to a document published on the government website, the new sanctions list includes 27 officials, law enforcement officers and state media representatives.

Among those on the UK’s sanctions list are the head of the Belteleradicompany, Ivan Eismont, the Prosecutor General Andrei Shved, the chairman of the Council of the Republic (upper house of parliament) Natalia Kochanova, The Minister of Information Igor Lutsky, Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Sivak, Judge Elena Zhivica, who made court decisions against protesters and journalists covering the demonstrations.

Assets of these individuals, if found, are subject to freezing.

On February 18, a court in Minsk sentenced two employees of the TV channel Belsat, Katerina Bakhvalova and Daria Chultsova, to two years in prison for allegedly "organizing, instigating" and "active participation" in actions "grossly violating public order." The journalists were detained on November 15 during a live broadcast from a rally in memory of the deceased activist Roman Bondarenko.

On February 16, a series of searches were carried out across Belarus of at least 25 journalists and human rights activists. The Investigative Committee of Belarus explained the search warrants by the necessity to "establish the circumstances of financing the protest activities." The actions of the Belarusian security forces have been condemned by the European Union.

  USA, UK, Belarus