US announces new sanctions on Belarus, Russian defence sector

A residential building that was hit by missiles in southern Kyiv, Ukraine. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday (March 2) announced more sanctions over Moscow’s war against Ukraine, this time targeting Russian ally Belarus and Russia’s defence industry.

The White House unveiled “sweeping restrictions on Belarus to choke off its import of technological goods in response to its support” of Russia’s war.

It also announced “ sanctions that target Russia’s defence sector” to “impose significant costs on Russian weapon development and production companies.”

Authoritarian Belarus and Russia are closely linked and Belarus has been used as a key staging ground for the invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The European Union on Wednesday announced its own raft of sanctions, including blacklisting 22 senior military officers from Belarus and cutting off the country’s major export – potash fertiliser.

The United States said it was targeting entities “that have been involved in, contributed to, or otherwise supported the Russian and Belarusian security services, military and defence sectors, and/or military and defense research and development efforts.”

“This action will help prevent diversion of items, technologies, and software through Belarus to Russia and will significantly degrade both countries’ ability to sustain their military aggression and project power,” the White House said.

“This will severely limit the ability of Russia and Belarus to obtain the materials they need to support their military aggression against Ukraine.”

On Russia, the US government said it was targeting 22 defence-related entities, “including firms that make combat aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military.”

The United States also formally imposed the sanction already announced by President Joe Biden on Tuesday to block Russian aircraft of all kinds from US airspace – a measure also taken by much of Europe.

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