Shaheen, Wicker Respond to New Sanctions Against Lukashenka Regime

December 02, 2021

**Shaheen & Wicker Led the Bipartisan Launch of the Senate Free Belarus Caucus in August**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) – co-chairs of the Senate Free Belarus Caucus – issued the following statements after the Biden administration imposed new sanctions against individuals and entities within the dictatorial Lukashenka regime in response to ongoing malign behavior, which includes human rights abuses against pro-democracy advocates and the unjust detention of political prisoners, as well as the horrific weaponizing of migrants on its border.

“Lukashenka needs to learn that the U.S. means what it says – we said we were watching and there would be consequences for his actions. And here they are,” said Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I’m glad the Biden administration levied these additional sanctions against Lukashenka and his thugs, who are weaponizing desperate migrants to sow chaos in the region and hurt our European partners. This is also the latest move in a continued effort to suppress the democratic will of the Belarusian people, which includes the unjust detention of hundreds of political prisoners. If Lukashenka did not learn before, he is going to learn now: we will not turn a blind eye to his crimes and we will continue to respond until he ends the violence against his own people, stops his weaponization of innocent migrants and allows for free and fair elections in Belarus.”

"The Lukashenko regime's continuing human rights abuses in Belarus are a stain on Europe and they require a swift and decisive response," said Senator Wicker. "I am glad to see the Department of the Treasury hit the Belarusian government with new and expanded sanctions. This sends a strong message to a dictatorship that responds only to strength."

Senators Shaheen and Wicker recently announced the formation of the Free Belarus Caucus in the Senate, which includes a bipartisan group of seven other Senators with the purpose of advocating for democracy and free and fair elections in Belarus. The launch of the caucus followed the Senators’ meeting with Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, earlier this year. Shaheen and Wicker led a bipartisan resolution in August reaffirming U.S. support for the pro-democracy movement in Belarus. Senator Shaheen led a bipartisan delegation to Eastern Europe in June to discuss transatlantic relations, democratic reforms and countering increasing aggression from Russia. In Lithuania, Shaheen met with Tsikhanouskaya to discuss the Lukashenka regime’s increasing human rights abuses against political opposition. In June, Shaheen questioned Tsikhanouskaya during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy in Belarus. Senator Shaheen also penned an op-ed in USA Today on why the West must come together to address the political situation in Belarus.