The United States also imposes sanctions on Belarus
With the forced landing of a passenger plane, Belarus has plunged deeper and deeper into the confrontation with the West. The United States is now imposing more sanctions. Governor Lukashenko is looking for support from neighboring Russia.
After the European Union, the United States has now also decided to punish Belarus for the forced landing of a passenger plane in Minsk. US President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman, Jane Saki, said that sanctions against nine state-owned companies in Belarus will take effect in the coming weeks. In consultation with the European Union and other partners, the United States has also prepared targeted sanctions against “key figures in the regime” of Governor Alexander Lukashenko.
The US State Department has also issued a travel advisory against Belarus. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned airlines to be “very careful” when flying over Belarus. The European Union had already approved new sanctions on Monday – just one day after the hard landing. In addition, the European Union Commission has promised Belarus a support package of three billion euros. But it should be activated only when the former Soviet republic has “begun a process of democratic transition.”
The confrontation between Belarus and the West came to a head because Lukashenko landed a Ryanair airliner last Sunday in order to arrest one of his opponents. Opposition activist and blogger Roman Protasiewicz has since been in custody. His girlfriend, Sophia Sapiga, who is Russian, was arrested. The fate of the two is uncertain.
Lukashenko laments the growing pressure from the West
Under the pressure of new sanctions, Lukashenko, whose country relies on Russia’s drip economy, met with Kremlin President Vladimir Putin on Friday evening. At the five-hour meeting in Sochi on the Black Sea, the politician, who is often criticized as “the last dictator in Europe”, complained of mounting pressure from the West. European Union actions sanctioned the state airline Belavia, although it had nothing to do with the forced landing. Putin has repeatedly confirmed his support in the confrontation with the West.
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tychhanovskaya called for solidarity measures with political prisoners from exile in Lithuania on Saturday. Her supporters see the 38-year-old as the real winner in the presidential election last August, which was widely seen as fraud. Nevertheless, the 66-year-old Lukashenko was declared the official winner. His apparatus of power acted brutally against the mass protests that followed. Until then, the European Union and the United States had already imposed sanctions.