- The Washington Times - Monday, August 9, 2021

President Biden on Monday imposed new sanctions on Belarus and the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, whose crackdown on political opponents has drawn international condemnation.

Mr. Biden signed an executive order imposing sanctions on key institutions and supporters of Mr. Lukashenko, including the Belarusian National Olympic Committee, a private Belarusian bank, and business leaders.

The sanctions also target OAO, one of the country’s largest state-owned enterprises and one of the world’s largest producers of potash. It is alleged to be an illegal source of wealth for the Lukashenko regime.

The sanctions were announced on the one-year anniversary of the Eastern European country’s election, which is widely viewed as fraudulent by the international community.

“Rather than respect the clear will of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenko regime perpetrated election fraud, followed by a brutal campaign of repression to stifle dissent,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.

“The United States will continue to stand up for human rights and free expression while holding the Lukashenko [regime] accountable in concert with our allies and partners,” the statement continued.

Other Western nations also have imposed sanctions on the Lukashenko regime, but they have not had much of an impact because Russia remains a key ally and creditor.

The U.S. announced sanctions in June as part of a coordinated response with the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union.

At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya refused to board a plane home, seeking refugee status in Poland, saying she feared her safety if she returned.

The International Olympic Committee revoked the accreditation of two Belarusian coaches who tried to force the 24-year-old sprinter to return home.

Poland has granted her a visa on humanitarian grounds.

Since rising to power in 1994, Mr. Lukashenko has cracked down on political opponents. Those crackdowns have increased since last year’s election.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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