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U.S. reimposes sanctions on Belarusian companies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Treasury's decision on Monday revoke a license granting U.S. citizens to do business with nine Belarusian state-owned companies. Pool Photo by Leah Millis/UPI
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Treasury's decision on Monday revoke a license granting U.S. citizens to do business with nine Belarusian state-owned companies. Pool Photo by Leah Millis/UPI | License Photo

April 19 (UPI) -- The Biden administration on Monday revoked a license permitting specific transactions with nine sanctioned Belarusian state-owned enterprises.

The Treasury Department revoked the Belarus-related General License and implemented a 45-day wind-down period for dealings with Belarusian Oil Trade House, Belneftekhim, Belneftekhim USA, Belshina OAO, Grodno Azot OAO, Grodno Khimvolokno OAO, Lakokraska OAO, Naftan OAO and Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO.

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"This action is a further consequence of the Belarusian authorities' flagrant disregard for human rights and Belarus' failure to comply with it obligations under international human rights law," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The Treasury first issued the yearly renewed license authorizing U.S. citizens to conduct certain transactions with the nine companies in 2015, and revoked it Monday in response to a widely discredited presidential election in late summer and the government's ensuing crackdown on opposition politicians and protesters.

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President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term during an August election the Untied States, Britain and the European Union bloc, among other Western nations, said was neither fair nor free.

More than 340 political prisoners have been detained amid the unrest, Blinken said.

"Given the sharply deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus, the U.S. government determined a further extension would be inconsistent with the Belarus Democracy Act and incompatible with American values," the United States' top politician said.

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The move follows the United States imposing visa restrictions on 43 Belarusians it accuses of undermining democracy in the European nation.

The European Union has also imposed three rounds of sanctions totally 88 people and seven entities following the August election.

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