Today, on the anniversary of the fraudulent Belarusian election of August 9, 2020, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed an Executive Order (EO) imposing new consequences on Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his regime for their continued aggression against democratic aspirations and human rights. the rights of the Belarusian people, transnational repression and abuse, affronts to international standards and corruption.
This EO provides enhanced authorities that empower the United States to increase the costs of the Lukashenka regime. More specifically, this OE extends the scope of the national state of emergency declared in OE 13405 of June 16, 2006, by authorizing the imposition of blocking sanctions on persons operating in certain identified sectors of the Belarusian economy, including including the defense and related materiel sector, the security sector, the energy sector, the potassium chloride (potash) sector, the tobacco products sector, the construction sector, the transport or any other sector of the Belarusian economy determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.
The US Department of the Treasury is also issuing its largest round of sanctions to date against Belarusian individuals and entities in accordance with OE 13405 as well as OS of August 9, 2021, including:
- Belaruskali OAO, which is one of Belarus’ largest state-owned enterprises, one of the world’s largest producers of potash and a source of illicit wealth for the regime;
- The Belarusian National Olympic Committee, which is accused of facilitating money laundering, sanction evasion and circumvention of visa bans, and which the International Olympic Committee has publicly reprimanded for its failure to protect Belarusian athletes from discrimination and political repression;
- Prominent businessmen who support the Lukashenka regime as well as some 15 companies with which they are affiliated – including Absolutbank, a Belarusian private bank; and,
- Additional entities that operate in the tobacco products, construction, energy and transport sectors of the Belarusian economy.
Democratic countries are stronger when we stand together. The United States welcomes the coordinated action taken today by the United Kingdom and Canada against the Lukashenka regime and the measures announced by the European Union on June 24.
In May, when Belarus forced the hijacking of a Ryanair commercial flight, President Biden pledged to “develop appropriate options to hold those responsible to account” and to “stand by the Belarusian people in their struggle. “. Since then, the regime has only intensified its repression, in particular by threatening the safety of an Olympic athlete outside its borders. With today’s actions, President Biden is delivering on his promise to hold the Belarusian regime accountable for its abuses. The position of the Biden administration remains clear: the Lukashenka regime must allow a legitimate international investigation into the hijacking of Ryanair flights; he must immediately release all political prisoners; it must stop targeting activists and dissidents, including across borders, and it must engage in a genuine and comprehensive political dialogue with figures from the democratic opposition and civil society that will result in a free and presidential election. fair under OSCE observation.
In the absence of such measures, the US government will continue to use this OE and other authorities to impose costs on the Lukashenka regime and its support network to promote corruption, human rights violations, transnational repression and attacks on democratic freedoms and international standards.