UK imposes sanctions on Belarus for its role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace hold a call with their Ukrainian Counterparts from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office as they discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has today (Tuesday 1 March) launched a first tranche of sanctions against Belarusian individuals and organisations in response to the role the country is playing in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including facilitating the invasion from within its borders.

Four senior defence officials and two military enterprises have been sanctioned with immediate effect under the UK’s Russia sanctions regime.

Those sanctioned include the Belarus Chief of the General Staff and First Deputy Minister of Defence, Major General Victor Gulevich. Gulevich is responsible for directing the actions of the Belarusian armed forces, which have supported and enabled the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He has directed joint military exercises with Russia, and consented to the deployment of Russian troops along the border of Belarus with Ukraine, which has directly contributed to Russia’s ability to attack Ukraine, including from positions in Belarus.

The other sanctioned individuals are Major General Andrei Burdyko, 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, Major General Sergei Simonenko; and Deputy Minister of Defence, Major General Andrey Zhuk.

Also sanctioned are state enterprises JSC 558 Aircraft Repair Plant and JSC Integral, a military semi-conductor manufacturer. JSC 558 provides maintenance and servicing to military aircraft at Baranovichi air base, from which Russian aircraft operated as part of the invasion.

Individuals will be unable to travel to the UK and any UK-based assets will be frozen.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him. 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.

These sanctions follow two pieces of legislation laid by the Foreign Secretary yesterday (Monday 28 February) to prevent designated Russian banks from being able to transact any payments in sterling and have correspondent banking relationships with UK-based banks, and to ban a range of exports critical to the maintenance and development of Russia’s military-industrial complex and strategic interests.

The first will be used immediately to designate Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, in effect cutting the bank out of the UK’s financial markets. The second, which is being enacted in close alignment with the US, EU and other partners, will collectively cut off much of Russia’s high-tech imports, constraining Russia’s military-industrial and technological capabilities for years to come.

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