The European Union has extended for one year sanctions targeting dozens of Belarusian officials, including longtime authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The announcement appeared on the website of the European Council on February 25, saying the sanctions targeted "officials responsible for the violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, members of the opposition, and journalists in Belarus, as well as those responsible for electoral fraud."
The sanctions were imposed after Minsk's brutal crackdown on protests against an August 2020 presidential election that the opposition and international observers have deemed fraudulent. That election, which handed Lukashenka a sixth term as the country's president, has not been recognized by the EU, the United States, Canada, or many other countries.
The sanctions were originally imposed in October-December 2020 and target 88 individuals and seven entities. The sanctions include a ban on travel to the EU and an asset freeze. EU entities are barred from conducting financial transactions with the targets of the sanctions.
The extension means the sanctions will remain in place until at least February 28, 2022.
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