EU, US extend, ramp up sanctions against Belarus authorities, Poland demands release of Belsat journos

Аlyaksandr Lukashenka at Belarusian People’s Congress. 12 February 2021. Photo:

The Western countries continue to put pressure on Belarusian authorities; the corresponding measures were announced on February, 25.

The Council of the EU decided to prolong until 28 February 2022 the restrictive measures targeting high-level officials responsible for the violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, members of the opposition and journalists in Belarus, as well as those responsible for electoral fraud. The EU sanctions also target economic actors, prominent businesspeople and companies benefiting from and/or supporting the Lukashenka regime.

The restrictive measures consist of a ban on travel to the EU and an asset freeze for listed persons – currently 88 individuals, including Alyksandr Lukashenka – and an asset freeze applicable to 7 entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly.

The bloc is closely monitoring the development of the situation, promising to support the Belarusian people in their legitimate request for democracy, including through support to civil society and independent media.

EEAS spokesman: If bad developments continue in Belarus, sanction regime can be extended

In turn, the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously adopted a resolution calling for further targeted sanctions coordinated between the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other allies and partners against Belarusian authorities who committed human rights violations and authorities from the electoral commission who engaged in activities that resulted in the falsification of the election results. Moreover, a new free and fair election under Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe observation should be held in Belarus, they believe.

The authors encourage considering, in coordination with transatlantic partners, the sanctioning of Belarusian state-owned companies that have directly violated the rights of their workers as a result of their participation in or in connection to the ongoing democratic movement in Belarus; and urge the transatlantic community to review and consider reassessing any financial assistance that supports the Lukashenka regime, including participation in state debt issuances or procurement contracts.

The Committee demands the immediate release of all those detained in connection with the demonstrations or others unlawfully detained for reporting on or protesting abuses by the Belarusian government and calls for an international investigation into the human rights abuses committed during and after the August 9, 2020, presidential election.

USA imposes sanctions on Belarus officials in wake of sentences for Belsat journalists

The Polish Sejm condemned the sentencing of Belsat TV journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova. The Sejm demands the immediate release of Katsyaryna, Darya, and all political prisoners, and urges the international community to show solidarity with the Belarusians who are fighting for their freedom.

“The Sejm of the Republic of Poland calls on the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to perform their basic duties in respect to their citizens in accordance with international law acts,” the statement reads.

On Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michel Bachelet presented a report on the situation in Belarus at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“The events that had unfolded before and immediately after the presidential election in Belarus had led to a human rights crisis of unprecedented dimension in the country,” she said.

According to the Commissioner, freeing all those people who were detained for peacefully exercising their rights is essential for the future of the country that respect for human rights.

Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova sentenced to two years of imprisonment