US, UK, Canada and Switzerland further increase sanctions pressure on Belarus
On 9 August 2021, the one year anniversary of the fraudulent presidential elections in Belarus, the US, the UK and Canada all imposed new measures aimed at the Lukashenka regime. Two days later, Switzerland imposed similar measures.
The measures follow a similarly coordinated effort on 21 June 2021, when the EU, the US, the UK, and Canada in tandem imposed sanctions on a wide range of persons and entities, in the wake of escalating human rights violations, repression of democratic opposition and the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk. On 24 June 2021, the EU also imposed sectoral sanctions aimed at sectors important to the Belarusian economy (see our earlier Sanctions Alert here). This week, the US, the UK, Canada and Switzerland all expanded on existing authorities, further targeting such sectors as well as important allies of the Lukashenka regime and state-owned entities.
- President Biden issued a new Executive Order on Blocking Property of Additional Persons contributing to the Situation in Belarus, which allows for blocking sanctions on inter alia persons and entities identified to operate in the "defense and related materiel sector, security sector, energy sector, potassium chloride (potash) sector, tobacco products sector, construction sector, or transportation sector of the economy of Belarus" or any other sectors of the Belarusian economy as may be determined later. The US simultaneously issued its largest tranche of Belarus-related sanctions listings to date, including on several Belarusian individuals and entities with close economic ties to President Lukashenka, as well as some key state-owned enterprises.
- The UK made further amendments to The Republic of Belarus (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, imposing trade measures on potash and petroleum products, interception and monitoring goods and technology, goods used in cigarette manufacturing, and dual-use goods and technology. The new UK sanctions also include aviation measures preventing Belarusian air carriers from UK airspace or landing in the UK, as well as financial measures prohibiting purchases of Belarus-issued transferable securities and money-market instruments. An updated guidance to the UK Regulations can be found here.
- Canada issued amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations that imposes similar restrictions as the UK amendments. The new measures target trade of potash and petroleum products, as well as certain activities related to Belarus' financial sector, including transferrable securities and money market instruments, debt financing, insurance and reinsurance. An updated overview over Canadian sanctions on Belarus can be found here.
- On 11 August 2021, Switzerland issued a new package of sanctions, along the same lines as the EU regime. See a Swiss press release here.
WR Sanctions Alerts provide you with updates on material developments in the country-specific sanctions programmes implemented by the US, the UN, the UK, the EU and Norway. We will not provide updates on mere prolongations, without material changes, of existing sanctions programmes, nor on any listings or de-listings of individuals/entities placed on implemented sanctions lists . Please note that the WR Sanctions Alerts are provided as general information and do not constitute legal advice.