The US imposed sanctions on eight Belarusian officials on Friday, accusing them of rigging the August 9th presidential election. The measures came after the EU slapped sanctions on 40 Belarusian officials.
“The United States and our international partners stand united in imposing costs on those who have undermined Belarusian democracy for years,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been under US sanctions since 2006, but was spared in this latest round, and was also not targeted by the EU. Lukashenko announced a plan to retaliate against the EU measures by imposing visa restrictions on EU officials. Lukashenko also recalled his ambassadors from Poland and Lithuania.
Earlier this week, the UK and Canada imposed sanctions on Lukashenko, his son, and other Belarusian officials.
The Belarusian presidential election results gave Lukashenko 80 percent of the vote, but the opposition rejected the results and are demanding a fresh round of voting. The US and EU have sided with the opposition and are also calling for new elections.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko’s main opposition, fled Belarus after the election, fearing arrest. Since then, Tsikhanouskaya has met with senior US and European officials.