Today, we celebrate, along with Belarusians across the world, Belarus Freedom Day. This day highlights the democratic legacy of the first independent Belarusian state, established in 1918 after 150 years of Russian occupation.
Despite the Lukashenka regime’s complicity in Russia’s war against Ukraine, brave Belarusians continue to stand up for an independent, stable, and democratic future for Belarus. In the face of the Lukashenka regime’s brutal and systemic crackdown on all sectors of Belarusian society the Belarusian democratic movement and civil society still courageously push forward for a free Belarus.
Yesterday, the United States took action to hold the Lukashenka regime to account for its human rights abuses against the Belarusian people and for facilitating the Russian Federation’s unconscionable war against Ukraine. The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced sanctions actions targeting state-owned enterprises and individuals who provide support to the regime’s brutality. At the same time, we announced actions to impose visa restrictions on an additional 14 individuals under Presidential Proclamation 8015 for their involvement in undermining democracy.
We are also taking steps to reinforce our support of a democratic Belarus. The U.S. government’s intends to launch a comprehensive Strategic Dialogue covering relevant topics of mutual interest with the Belarusian democratic movement and civil society.
On Belarus Freedom Day, we reaffirm the long-standing policy of the United States to support a democratic, sovereign, and stable Belarus. This commitment is unwavering, bipartisan, and firmly rooted in the values of our nation. The Biden Administration wholeheartedly supports this policy, as have all U.S. Presidents for more than 30 years.
We dedicate this day to the freedom of the nearly 1,500 political prisoners of the Lukashenka regime and to the freedom of all Belarusians, who deserve to create their own future, free of Lukashenka’s repression and Putin’s coercion.