US joins EU in slapping new sanctions on Belarus

Washington - The United States on Monday announced new travel and financial sanctions on Belarusian officials believed to have participated in the violent crackdown on dissidents during last year's presidential election.

The US State Department said the list of Belarusian officials barred from travelling to the United States will be 'significantly' expanded. Those individuals will also be subject to unspecified financial restrictions.

At the same time, the US government would also revoke a ruling that temporarily allowed US citizens to engage in business with two subsidiaries controlled by Belneftekhim, Belarus's largest state- owned petroleum and chemical conglomerate, the State Department said.

The European Union also announced similar measures on Monday.

The US and EU have been closely coordinating their response to the crackdown on and jailing of dissidents, journalists and other groups during the December re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, often described as 'Europe's last dictator.'

The US and EU have demanded the release of all of those jailed during the demonstrations surrounding the December 19 election.


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