US prolongs sanctions against Belarus president

US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order that prolongs American sanctions against Belarusian government officials including president Aleksander Lukashenko, BelarusFeed has reported.

“The actions and policies of certain members of the government of Belarus and other persons to undermine Belarus’s democratic processes or institutions, to commit human rights abuses related to political repression, and to engage in public corruption continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” the White House said in a statement.

Among the 10 people blacklisted are Belarusian government officials and their relatives including Viktor Lukashenko, the president’s son, chief presidential advisor Viktor Sheiman and deputy chief of staff to the president Natalia Petkevich.

Introduced by then-US president George W. Bush after the US and the EU declared the 2006 presidential election in Belarus undemocratic, the sanctions prohibit those targeted from owning property in the US, having US bank accounts from doing business with US companies.

Similarly restrictive measures against Belarusian companies were suspended in 2015 following the release of several political prisoners, as well as parliamentary elections in the same year which was resulted in the first ever opposition MPs entering the country’s parliament.