The US administration is introducing sanctions against 43 Belarusians, including high-ranking officials, for "undermining democracy" in the country, reads the statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued Thursday.
"Today, the U.S. Department of State took action pursuant to Presidential Proclamation (PP) 8015 to impose visa restrictions on 43 Belarusian individuals responsible for undermining Belarusian democracy, making them generally ineligible for entry into the United States," the statement notes.
It clarifies that the blacklist includes "high-ranking justice sector officials, law enforcement leaders and rank-and-file personnel who detained and abused peaceful demonstrators, judges and prosecutors involved in sentencing peaceful protesters and journalists to prison terms and academic administrators who threatened students for participation in peaceful protests." The US State Department believes that the Belarusian authorities continue to resort to violence against "peaceful protesters", activists and reporters, TASS reports.
Blinken underlined that the US already imposed similar restrictions twice before, targeting 66 people then. "Those individuals included high-ranking Lukashenka regime officials, as well as Russian and Belarusian nationals complicit in hindering the work of independent media and otherwise undermining the integrity of media freedom in Belarus," the statement notes.
"The United States continues to support international efforts to independently investigate electoral irregularities in Belarus, the human rights abuses surrounding the election, and the crackdown that has followed. We stand with the brave people of Belarus and support their right to free and fair elections," Blinken added.