The U.S. State Department marked Belarus Freedom Day by calling out the nation’s authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko for aiding Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. File photo by Belarus' President Press Office / UPI | License Photo
March 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department marked Belarus Freedom Day by calling out the nation's authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko for aiding Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
Belarus Freedom Day commemorates the anniversary of the country declaring the independence of the Belarusian Democratic Republic from Russia. The unofficial holiday is celebrated on March 25 each year. This year marked 105 years since Belarus became independent.
In a statement on Saturday, the State Department said Belarusians continue to stand up for independence despite their president showing loyalty to Russia.
"In the face of the Lukashenka regime's brutal and systemic crackdown on all sectors of Belarusian society the Belarusian democratic movement and civil society still courageously push forward for a free Belarus," the press release said.
On Friday, U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against state-owned entities and individuals who have worked to support the Lukashenko regime, including Open Joint Stock Company Belarusian Automobile Plant and Open Joint Stock Company Minsk Automobile Plant.
The Treasury Department also designated the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Belarus and its committee members for election fraud in Belarus' 2020. The department alleges the election committee suppressed opposition candidates, did not provide poll observers and did not ensure accurate vote counts.
"The authoritarian Lukashenka regime relies on state-owned enterprises and key officials to generate substantial revenue that enables oppressive acts against the Belarusian people," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.
"We remain committed to imposing costs on the Lukashenka regime for its suppression of democracy and support for Putin's war of choice."