Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said yesterday that she asked US 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.
Such measures would go beyond existing sanctions on Lukashenko’s political allies and government bodies and “will be a real hit on him, to make him change his behaviour and to release political prisoners,” Tsikhanouskaya told reporters.
She said she delivered the list of enterprises, among them state-owned Belaruskali producer of potash fertiliser, at a meeting on Monday with State Department officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Yesterday during a webinar sponsored by the Atlantic Council think tank, Tsikhanouskaya called for much tougher action by the world’s democracies against Lukashenko, who has kept a tight grip on Belarus since 1994 and cracked down on peaceful street protests that began over a disputed presidential election last August.
“I think it’s high time for democratic countries to unite and show their teeth,” said Tsikhanouskaya, who will also visit the White House and Capitol Hill.
Tsikhanouskaya, 38, was a candidate in the election instead of her husband Sergei Tsikhanouskiy, a video blogger who has been jailed since May 2020 on charges such as violating public order, which he denies.
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