“A platform for Russian attacks on Ukraine”. Canada punishes Belarusian officials

The Canadian government announced new sanctions against Belarusian officials on Tuesday, while the Belarusian opposition leader in exile Svetlana Tikhanovskaya visited the country to urge Ottawa to maintain pressure on Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

This series of sanctions targets 22 officials of the regime and 15 institutions related to “production of military equipment, technology, engineering, banking and railway transportation”. In total, Canada’s sanctions affect more than 100 people and businesses in the country.

In a statement, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie accused the Belarusian president’s regime of letting “its lands turn into in a springboard for Russia’s horrific attacks on Ukraine”.

Jolie denounced that Belarusian leaders have allowed “the Russian regime to commit human rights violations in places like Bucha, Izyum and Mariupol” in Ukraine, and criticized “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of food and energy as weapons”.

Tikhanovskaya announced, in an interview with the press on Monday of his intention to ask Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “impose sanctions” on officials of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. “Today, Belarus’ very existence is under threat,” he said.

He also announced that he intends to seek more assistance for civil society in Belarus, in particularly for independent journalists, but also for the approximately 1,400 political prisoners and their families.

Tikhanovskaya lives in exile after fleeing abroad from violent crackdowns launched by Lukashenko, who declared victory in the 2020 elections and is considered “stolen” by the West.

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