Salem Radio Network News Thursday, July 29, 2021

World

Belarus opposition leader asks for more U.S. sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Tuesday that she had asked U.S. officials to impose sanctions on companies in her country’s potash, oil, wood and steel sectors, as she visited Washington seeking stronger action against President Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

Tsikhanouskaya said she delivered a list of enterprises the opposition would like to see sanctioned, in addition to existing U.S. sanctions on Lukashenko’s political allies and government bodies, during a meeting with State Department officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday. Her requests included the state-owned Belaruskali producer of potash fertilizer.

Such measures would go beyond existing sanctions by the European Union and the United States and “will be a real hit on him, to make him change his behavior and to release political prisoners,” she said in a meeting with reporters in Washington.

Tsikhanouskaya, 38, was a candidate in an election last August that Lukashenko’s opponents say was rigged so that he could retain power.

Her husband, Sergei Tsikhanouskiy, is a video blogger who has been jailed since May 2020 on charges such as violating public order, which he denies. Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighboring Lithuania after Lukashenko’s crackdown following the election.

She called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop supporting Lukashenko.

“The relationship of Russia and Belarus at the moment is so close that the next step is loss of independence,” she said. “We understand that Lukashenko has to pay for the support of the Kremlin.”

Tsikhanouskaya will visit the White House and Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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