Putin and Lukashenko this week in Sochi, Russia.
Photo: EPA / MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL / EFE
The United States announced yesterday that it will resume a series of sanctions and there will be new ones against the government of Belarus, after the diversion of a Ryanair flight on Sunday and the arrest of the political opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, who was traveling on board.
After the international condemnation, the questioned President Alexander Lukashenko met this week in Russia with his counterpart and ally Vladimir Putin, their third meeting so far this year.
In addition to the measures already announced in recent weeks, the White House said in a statement that it is preparing with the European Union (EU) “a list of targeted sanctions against key members of the regime of Lukashenko ”.
“The forced diversion by Belarus, with false pretenses, of a commercial Ryanair flight that circulated between two member states of the European Union ”(Greece and Lithuania) and the arrest of journalist Protasevich “constitute a direct challenge to international standards “said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The economic sanctions against nine Belarusian state-owned companies, imposed again in April following the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, will enter into force on 3 of June.
Following the disputed 2006 elections, Washington had already prohibited all transactions with these companies. But the Barack Obama administration suspended them in 2015, welcoming some progress, although the Biden administration warned in late March that this suspension could not be renewed at the next deadline, AFP reported.
The White House also issued a warning “do not travel” to Belarus for American citizens and warned their passenger planes that “exercise extreme caution” if they consider flying over the airspace of that country. The same has been requested by Europe for its airlines.
He further confirmed that the Justice Department, including the FBI, is investigating Sunday’s incident in cooperation with their European counterparts.
The EU is also studying the possibility of sanctions against Belarus, which could target potash exports and russian gas transit, two important sources of income for the country, said on Thursday Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs
The Lukashenko government maintains that the plane was diverted due to a bomb threat and that the arrest of Protasevich and his girlfriend, Sofía Sapega, was hazardous.
The official data of the 2020 presidential elections pointed to a new victory for Lukashenko for a sixth term, with 80.23% of the votes. The next day, August 10, Russia and China congratulated Lukashenko on his new re-election, but the opposition did not recognize the results and denounced fraud, receiving the support of the majority of the West.
Biden administration to reimpose sanctions on Belarus over forced flight diversion https://t.co/w4DZhMJRZI pic.twitter.com/xD7jufb4Xy
– The Hill (@thehill) May 29, 2021
Putin tucks Lukashendo in the middle of the international crisis due to the deviation of the plane
– Guillermo A. Cochez (@willycochez) May 28, 2021