UK introduces new sanctions against Belarus and Russia

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announces range of penalties to affect both countries

Britain's Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss. AFP

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Belarusian military chiefs are among the targets of the UK’s first tranche of sanctions against Minsk for the role it is playing in the Ukraine crisis.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s administration “actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion” and should face the consequences.

Four senior defence officials and two military enterprises have had sanctions imposed with immediate effect under the UK’s Russia sanctions regime, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said.

The people sanctioned will be unable to travel to the UK and any of their UK-based assets will be frozen.

The decision affects the Belarus chief of the general staff and first deputy minister of defence, Maj Gen Viktor Gulevich, who is responsible for directing the Belarusian armed forces.

The Foreign Office said the Belarusian military has “supported and enabled the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

Others sanctioned were Maj Gen Andrei Burdyko, the deputy minister of defence for logistics and chief of logistics of the Belarusian armed forces; deputy minister of defence for armament and chief of armament of the Belarusian armed forces, Maj Gen Sergei Simonenko; and deputy minister of defence, Maj Gen Andrey Zhuk.

State enterprises JSC 558 Aircraft Repair Plant and JSC Integral, a military semi-conductor maker, have also been included, the office said.

JSC 558 provides maintenance and servicing to military aircraft at Baranovichi air base, from which Russian aircraft operated as part of the invasion, the office said.

“We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him," Ms Truss said. “We will not rest until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored.

“The Lukashenko regime actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion and will be made to feel the economic consequences for its support for Putin.

“There will be nowhere to hide. Nothing – and no one – is off the table.”

The Belarus sanctions are on top of those already applied on Minsk by the UK since 2020.

More than 100 people and organisations have become targets after the fraudulent elections in Belarus and the “litany of abhorrent acts and human rights violations that the Lukashenko regime continues to commit”, the Foreign Office has said.

The move follows separate sanctions against Russia, including the banning of Russian ships from UK ports.

The ban includes any vessels owned or operated by anyone connected to Russia and authorities will also gain new powers to hold Russian vessels.

More economic measures introduced by Ms Truss, including against the Russian Central Bank and the state’s sovereign wealth fund, mean most of Russia’s financial system is now covered by UK sanctions.

The new measures ban UK and entities from providing financial services to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, as well as the Ministry of Finance and National Wealth Fund.

A ban has also been enacted on a range of exports critical to the maintenance and development of Russia’s military and strategic interests.

It is being applied in close alignment with the US, EU and other partners to cut off much of Russia’s high-tech imports and constrain Russia’s future military-industrial and technological capabilities.

“We said Putin and those around him would pay the price for their unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, and we are being true to our word," Ms Truss said.

“The ban on Russian ships from UK ports, and new economic sanctions against key Russian financial institutions including its central bank, in close co-ordination with our allies, will degrade Russia’s economy and help make sure Putin loses.

“We stand with Ukraine, its people and its democracy, and will continue to support them diplomatically, economically, politically and defensively."

Updated: March 02, 2022, 7:57 AM