June 12, 2023

UK increases economic pressure on Belarus with amended sanctions

On June 8, 2023, the UK imposed additional Belarus-related sanctions for the country’s continued support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by permitting Russia to use its territory and airspace to conduct missile and drone strikes, providing training and logistical support to Russian forces, and spreading false narratives about the invasion.  The new sanctions provisions come into force on June 9, 2023.

The UK amended The Republic of Belarus (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 to increase economic pressure on the Lukashenko regime by expanding upon measures introduced in 2022 that ban the import and export of approximately £60 million worth of goods from Belarus.  The new amendment includes a ban on the import of gold, cement, wood and rubber from Belarus, which are important sources of revenue for the regime, and also bans the export of banknotes and certain machinery, goods, and technologies that can be used to produce chemical and biological weapons or can be used for the repression of fundamental human rights and freedoms in Belarus.  The amended legislation also cracks down on efforts to circumvent sanctions and prevents the spread of  propaganda in the UK by enabling social media companies and internet service providers to restrict access to websites of sanctioned Belarusian media organizations.  Belarus-related sanctions were also expanded to include, where appropriate, the close family members of individuals who have already been sanctioned.

On June 9, 2023, the UK also updated the statutory guidance for the Belarus sanctions regime to reflect the provisions in the new amendment.