Britain tightens sanctions against Belarus over disputed vote

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Britain on Monday broadened its sanctions on Belarus and President Alexander Lukashenko, a year after disputed elections that kept the strongman in power.

“The Lukashenko regime continues to crush democracy and violate human rights in Belarus,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“These sanctions demonstrate that the UK will not accept Lukashenko’s actions since the fraudulent election,” he added.

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Britain in June joined the United States, Canada and the European Union in slapping sanctions on Belarus after the detention of opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.

The latest measures have been introduced because of “the continued undermining of democracy and human rights violations by the Lukashenko regime”, the UK government said.

The package includes preventing Belarusian air carriers from flying over or landing in Britain, and a ban on “technical assistance” to Lukashenko’s private jet fleet.

It also bans trade in potash, petroleum products, interception and monitoring goods and technology, goods used in cigarette manufacturing, and “dual-use” goods, which can be used for both civilian and military purposes.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said that would “reduce the amount of revenue flowing to the Lukashenko regime and to limit its access to items that could enable the internal repression” of the public.

The financial sanctions cover a ban on purchases of transferable securities and money market instruments issued by the Belarusian state and state-owned banks, plus loans.

The FCDO said the ban would be extended to insurance and reinsurance to state bodies in Minsk.

Lukashenko has ruled the ex-Soviet state since 1994 but has so far shrugged off Western pressure with the support of key ally Russia.

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