President BidenJoe BidenTop advisor to Cuomo resigns Berlin nightclubs participate in COVID-19 pilot project Lead pipe replacement funds in bipartisan deal raise skepticism MORE signed an executive order on Monday expanding sanctions against the regime of Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenko, a year after the country held what was widely regarded as a fraudulent election that kept Lukashenko in power.
Biden’s order allows the US government to impose sanctions on other members of the Lukashenko regime, including those who work in the security, energy, tobacco, construction and transportation sectors of the Belarusian economy, the White House said .
The Ministry of Finance is also imposing its largest ever round of sanctions against members of the regime, as well as the Belarusian National Olympic Committee, which has been accused of money laundering, and Belaruskali OAO, a state-owned company that provides illegal funds for the regime.
The additional measures come as the US and its allies seek to increase pressure on Lukashenko while he continues to suppress dissent and consolidate his power.
“A year ago today, the Belarusian people tried to make themselves heard and to shape their own future through this most basic expression of democracy – an election. Instead of respecting the clear will of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenka regime committed electoral fraud. followed by a brutal campaign of repression to suppress dissent, ”Biden said in a statement.
“The United States will continue to advocate human rights and freedom of expression while holding Lukashenka accountable with our allies and partners,” added Biden.
Presidential elections were held in Belarus last August, marked by intimidation against other candidates, the blocking of independent election monitors and security measures against demonstrators.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the country for 26 years and is often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator”.
Biden met with Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a Belarusian opposition leader, last month. The president and other world leaders imposed sanctions in late May after Belarus forced a Ryan Air flight with another dissident, Rama Pratasevich, to land within its borders for authorities to arrest.