US Confirms New Punishment for Belarus

US Confirms New Punishment for Belarus

( – The Republic of Belarus is an Eastern European nation nestled between Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. It declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. In 1994, it elected Alexander Lukashenko, its first president in its only free election since gaining its independence. Lukashenko remains the country’s president to this day because of an allegedly fraudulent election in 2020.

On Monday, August 9, President Joe Biden announced a new executive order targeting Belarus, enhancing the administration’s “ability to impose costs” on its authoritarian regime. The executive will also impose new economic sanctions on both entities and individuals for their role in ongoing attacks on “democracy… human rights, transnational repression, and corruption.” The UK also issued sanctions that day.

This comes after an incident this May, when a passenger jet flying from Greece to Lithuania was forcibly diverted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, due to an alleged bomb scare. However, no explosives were found, and authorities arrested an opposition journalist onboard the plane. Passengers said he looked frightened, and one told reporters he told them he faced the “death penalty.” The journalist is now on house arrest.

Biden concluded his remarks telling the people of Belarus that America stands with them as they work to achieve their “democratic aspirations.”

The administration’s decision to slap sanctions on Belarus does raise some concerns since recent reports indicate the country maintains ties to Russia. Could this situation increase tensions between Washington and Moscow?

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