Fri, 30 Jul 2021

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Monday announced sanctions against Belarusian individuals and entities over alleged human rights abuse and the Ryanair flight diversion incident.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that it had designated five entities and 16 individuals, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's press secretary and the chairperson of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly, the Belarusian Parliament's upper house.

The State Security Committee, the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and their heads are also on the blacklist.

All property and interests of the individuals in the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them, said the statement.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement that the State Department imposed visa restrictions on 46 Belarusian officials.

The move came nearly a month after a Ryanair passenger plane en route from Athens to Vilnius was diverted to land in Minsk on May 23.

The Irish airline Ryanair said that the flight FR4978 was directed to an airport in Minsk as crew on the plane had been alerted to a possible security threat by Belarusian authorities, adding that nothing untoward was found.

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