In a sign of sustained tensions between the UK and Belarus, the Foreign Office has announced the imposition of “significant new package of economic sanctions”.
The Foreign Office – now officially called the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – claims the sanctions are to mark the first anniversary of Belarus’ “fraudulent election”.
The latest sanctions – timed to coincide with broadly similar US sanctions against Belarus – primarily target the trade, financial and aviation sectors of the East European country.
Most significantly, the aviation-related sanctions prevent Belarusian air carriers from overflying UK airspace or landing at British airports.
The trade sanctions primarily target potash, petroleum products and goods used in cigarette manufacturing.
Furthermore, the financial sanctions prohibit purchases of transferable securities and money-market instruments issued by the Belarusian state, in addition to those issued by state-owned banks. They also prohibit the provision of loans to Belarus.
In addition to the sweeping aviation, trade and financial sanctions, the UK has also specifically designated prominent Russian businessman, Mikhail Gutseriev, on account of his allegedly strong ties to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
While the FCDO statement doesn’t set out the measures against Gutseriev, presumably any assets he may have in the UK will be frozen and he will be prohibited from entering the country for a limited period.
According to the FCDO, these latest sanctions mark a “significant additional step in bringing pressure to bear on the Lukashenko regime” with a view to changing Belarus’ behavior both internally and externally.