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WASHINGTON: On Friday (March 24), the U.S. Treasury Department responds to an ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists that began after 2020 presidential election polls were rejected by opposition parties and Western governments as fraudulent. and imposed sanctions on three Belarusian state-owned companies and nine individuals.

The Treasury Department also identified a US-made Boeing 737 jet as the property of Alexander Lukashenko, a US-licensed Belarusian leader and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Identifying the aircraft as part of the luxury fleet used by Lukashenko and his family effectively blocked its use in the United States.

Sanctions generally prohibit Americans from doing business with named entities and individuals, and may take similar action against financial institutions and persons doing business with them.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance said it would impose sanctions on two major Belarusian automakers, including the Belarusian Automobile Factory.

Also designated is the Minsk Automobile Plant, which a Finance Ministry statement said was an “important source of income” for the Lukashenko government.

The Treasury Department also announced sanctions against the directors of both companies.

Management at the Minsk Automobile Plant threatened and fired workers who took part in strikes and peaceful protests against Lukashenko’s claim to victory in the August 2020 elections, according to the Finance Ministry.

Workers at a Belarusian car factory were intimidated and threatened with layoffs for the same reasons, it said.

The statement said the sanctions had been imposed on seven members of Belarus’ Central Electoral Commission and the commission itself.

Finally, the Ministry of Finance imposed visa restrictions on 14 people, including high-ranking government officials, in honor of Belarus’ Freedom Day, an unofficial holiday commemorating the declaration of independence from the Russian Empire in 1918.

Lukashenko is indebted to Putin for supporting him after the outbreak of mass protests against the Belarusian leader’s 2020 elections. Lukashenko has allowed Belarus to be used as a starting point for Putin’s 2021 invasion of neighboring Ukraine. US Treasury announces new sanctions against Belarusian entities, individuals

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