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New UK sanctions against Belarus also target Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev

Source: Gov.uk

The UK, U.S., and Canada imposed new economic sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko’s regime on Monday, August 9, to mark the one year anniversary of the “fraudulent election in Belarus.”

The UK government’s package of sanctions includes restrictions on potash fertilizers, petroleum products, goods used in cigarette manufacturing, and dual-use goods and technologies that could be used to carry out internal repressions. London also imposed financial sanctions on Belarusian state banks, banned Belarusian airlines from overflying or landing in the UK, and prohibited the provision of technical assistance to aircrafts used by Lukashenko and his closest associates. 

In addition, the UK imposed personal sanctions on Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev, who London described as “one of the main private investors in Belarus and a longstanding associate of Alexander Lukashenko.” The sanctions include a freeze on Gutseriev’s assets and a ban on providing technical assistance to his airplane.

“The Lukashenko regime continues to crush democracy and violate human rights in Belarus. These sanctions demonstrate that the UK will not accept Lukashenko’s actions since the fraudulent election,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. 

Lukashenko responded to the new sanctions during a press conference on Monday, saying “You can choke on those sanctions, Great Britain. [...] You are American lapdogs.”

Canada’s sanctions against Belarus target state actors’ access to international finance, as well as petroleum products and fertilizers produced in Belarus. The U.S. sanctions were imposed on 23 individuals and 21 legal entities, including the state-owned potash producer Belaruskali, Belarus’s National Olympic Committee, and the Neman tobacco factory.

The 2020 presidential elections in Belarus sparked massive opposition protests that lasted for several months. Lukashenko’s regime responded to the protests with unprecedented repressions. The EU, UK, and U.S. later imposed sanctions on Belarus in response to the rigged election and subsequent human rights violations.

In June 2021, the EU sanctioned Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev as a “long-time friend of Alexander Lukashenko.” A few days later, Gutseriev quit the board of directors of the oil company RussNeft — one of his main assets.