The United States is reimposing sanctions against nine Belarusian state-owned companies and a number of key figures in President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
“We urge Lukashenko to allow a credible international investigation into the events of May 23,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Sanctions are coming After Belarus forced Ryanair to land on Sunday. On board was the journalist Roman Protasevich, who is critical of the regime, who has been arrested and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Psaki calls the measure a “direct affront to international norms” and says the United States is cooperating with the European Union on sanctions and more could come.
“Against those who support corruption, human rights abuses and attacks on democracy,” Psaki said.
US citizens have been warned to fly to Belarus and the country’s airlines are urged to “exercise extreme caution” if they are considering flying over Belarusian airspace.
The United States, like the European Union, imposed sanctions on Belarus in the wake of the authoritarian regime’s violent intervention against protesters protesting the disputed results of the August presidential election.
Lukashenko . is located In Russia and Sochi to meet with his closest ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. There, the Belarusian leader commented on international pressure:
“There is an attempt to stir up trouble so that it will be like August last year,” Lukashenko said, referring to protests that have criticized the regime.