Belarusian opposition leader calls for more US sanctions

The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will take part in a meeting with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (not pictured) at Bellevue Palace in Berlin on December 14, 2020. REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke / File Photo

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) – Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said Tuesday that she asked U.S. officials to impose sanctions on companies in her country’s potash, oil, wood and steel sectors when she visited Washington, to take stronger action against President Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

Tsikhanouskaya said she presented a list of companies the opposition would like to see sanctioned during a meeting with State Department officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Monday, in addition to existing U.S. sanctions against Lukashenko’s political allies and government organs. The state-owned potash fertilizer manufacturer Belaruskali was one of her inquiries. Continue reading

Such measures would go beyond the existing sanctions of the European Union and the US and “would be a real blow to get him to change his behavior and release political prisoners,” she said at a meeting with reporters in Washington.

Tsikhanouskaya, 38, was a candidate last August in an election that Lukashenko’s opponents say was rigged to keep power.

Her husband Sergei Tsikhanouskiy is a video blogger who has been jailed since May 2020 for violating public order, among other things, which he denies. Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighboring Lithuania after the defeat of Lukashenko after the election.

She called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop supporting Lukashenko.

“Relations between Russia and Belarus are so close at the moment that the next step is to lose independence,” she said. “We understand that Lukashenko has to pay for the Kremlin’s support.”

Tsikhanouskaya will visit the White House and Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Adaptation by Giles Elgood

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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