The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned eight Belarusian officials for undermining democracy.
This was announced in an October 2 press release on the U.S. Treasury's website.
"Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated eight individuals for their roles in the fraudulent August 9, 2020 Belarus presidential election or the subsequent violent crackdown on peaceful protesters," the press release said.
"These designations, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13405, target individuals who are responsible for, or have participated in, undermining democratic processes in Belarus. OFAC previously sanctioned 16 Belarusian officials pursuant to E.O. 13405 for their activities in connection with the previous fraudulent 2006 and 2010 elections."
"The Belarusian people's democratic aspirations to choose their own leaders and peacefully exercise their rights have been met with violence and oppression from Belarusian officials," the document quotes U.S. Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin as saying. "The United States and our international partners stand united in imposing costs on those who have undermined Belarusian democracy for years."
The action was taken in coordination with the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union to demonstrate the international community's solidarity in standing with the Belarusian people against the fraudulent and violent actions of the Belarusian government.
The U.S. Treasury targeted the Belarusian Interior Ministry and law enforcement officials, in particular, Minister of the Interior Yuriy Khadzymuratavich Kareau and Deputy Minister of the Interior Alyaksandr Pyatrovich Barsukou, Commander Yuriy Henadzievich Nazaranka and Deputy Commander Khazalbek Bakhtsibekavich Atabekau.
On the sanctions list are also Ivan Uladzimiravich Kubrakou and Dzmitriy Uladzimiravich Balaba, who lead organizations that have beaten and detained peaceful protesters, journalists, and others in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Kubrakou, the head of the Minsk branch of the Ministry of the Interior, oversees the city's policing and prisons, including Akrestsina prison. Kubrakou also made public statements discouraging Belarusians from participating in peaceful, pro-democracy protests and claimed that the protests were trying to destabilize Belarus and cause societal unrest. Balaba commands the Minsk Special Purpose Police Unit, or OMON, whose members have violently suppressed protests and have been responsible for the inhumane treatment of detainees.
Belarus' Central Election Commission (CEC) Deputy Chairperson Vadzim Dzmitrievich Ipatau and Secretary Alena Mikalaeuna Dmukhayla were also sanctioned.
Sanctions against Lukashenko's regime
- On the night of October 2, the media reported that EU representatives at a summit agreed on the introduction of sanctions against representatives of the Belarusian authorities. The sanctions should take effect next week.
- The process of imposing the restrictions was hampered by Cyprus, which demanded that Europe in return react in the same way to the unauthorized exploration of crude oil fields by Turkey in its waters. On this occasion, the country's president even met with President of the European Council Charles Michel.
- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania imposed sanctions on 128 Belarusian officials. Among them are Alexander Lukashenko and his son Viktor, the head of the presidential administration Igor Sergeenko and his first deputy Maxim Ryzhenkov, deputies Olga Chupris, Dmitry Krutoy, as well as other officials of Lukashenko's administration.