UK sanctions Belarus for role in Russian invasion

UK sanctions Belarus for role in Russian invasion

The UK has targeted Belarusian army chiefs in its first wave of sanctions against Belarus for its role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Four defence officials and two military enterprises are included in the sanctions.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko had aided and abetted Russia’s invasion.

Mr Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has hosted Russian forces and allowed them to use Belarus as a staging ground.

Lukashenko’s administration has become increasingly reliant on Russia for economic, political and military support in recent years.

Putin backed Lukashenko after he claimed a disputed election victory in 2020, sparking mass protests that almost removed him from power.

Back in January Belarus hosted joint military drills with Russia prompting western leaders to issue warnings about a potential attack on Ukraine.

Belarus then announed that Russian troops would stay in the country, citing the “aggravation of situation” in Ukraine.

However on Monday Lukashenko said Belarus had no plans to join Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

According to new agency Belta Mr Lukashenko denied Ukraine’s allegations that Russian troops were attacking from Belarus’s territory.

Announcing sanctions on Tuesday, the UK government accused Belarus of “facilitating the invasion from within its borders”.

Those sanctioned include:

  • Belarus’s deputy defence minister, Major General Victor Gulevich, who is “responsible for directing the actions of the Belarusian armed forces”
  • Major General Andrei Burdyko, a logistics chief; Major General Sergei Simonenko, an arms chief; and Major General Andrey Zhuk, Belarus’s deputy minister of defence
  • Also sanctioned are JSC Integral, a military semi-conductor manufacturer, and JSC 558 Aircraft Repair Plant, which provides maintenance and servicing to military aircraft at an air base from which Russian aircraft have operated

Ms Truss said Belarus “will be made to feel the economic consequences for its support for Putin”.

“We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him. We will not rest until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored.”

She added that “nothing – and no one- is off the table”, suggesting that more sanctions could be imposed.

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.