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Belarus hit with US visa sanctions

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The US Department of State (DoS) has hit Belarus with US visa restrictions, citing the ‘repression of athletes abroad including the attempted forced repatriation of a sprinter at the Tokyo Olympic Games’, according to a report published by The Guardian. 


The restrictions come after Belarusian sprinter, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, refused to board a flight back home in 2021 when she was removed from the Games against her will following a public complaint she made about her international team coaches.

At the time, Ms Tsimanouskaya defected to Poland, and said that she ‘feared for her safety’ if she returned to Belarus. Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, said that Ms Tsimanouskaya had been ‘manipulated.’


US shows solidarity

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said: “We stand in solidarity with Ms Tsimanouskaya and all others who have experienced the regime’s attempts to silence criticism.”

The US visa restrictions imposed on Belarus relate to the country’s involvement in ‘serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activity’. However, the DoS did not disclose who was being targeted by the visa restrictions. 

In recent weeks, tension between the US and Russia reached new heights over Russia’s possible invasion of the Ukraine. Nato has stated that there has been significant Russian troop movement into Belarus in recent days, while it’s been widely reported that more than 100,000 Russian armed forces personnel are currently lining Russia’s border with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in May 2021, a Ryanair flight was forced to land in Belarusian capital, Minsk, amid a bomb threat. Upon landing, a Belarusian dissident journalist aboard the plane was arrested, along with his female companion.

Following the incident, Belarus accused the west of using the incident to undermine Lukashenko.


Release political prisoners

Antony Blinken recently urged Minsk to ‘immediately release all political prisoners’ and to ‘engage in sincere facilitated dialogue with the democratic opposition and civil society’.

Blinken’s comments came amid a warning aimed at Chinese firms by the US that they would face the consequences if they ‘sought to evade’ any export controls imposed on Moscow in the event of Russia invading the Ukraine.

DoS spokesperson, Ned Price, fired the warning after China’s foreign ministry said that China and Russia had ‘coordinated their positions on Ukraine during a recent meeting between their foreign ministers in Beijing.

Price said: “We have an array of tools that we can deploy if we see foreign companies, including those in China, doing their best to backfill US export control actions, to evade them, to get around them.”

Western nations have said that any invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces would bring sanctions against Moscow. Washington has said it is prepared to impose financial sanctions as well as export-control measures.


US-Russia tensions increasing

US-Russia relations have turned increasingly sour in recent years, and the amassing of Russian troops at the Ukraine border has already sparked threats from both sides. 

Meanwhile, last year, the US embassy in Moscow cancelled many of its US visa services following a new rule introduced by the Kremlin that restricted how many local staff could work at foreign diplomatic missions.

However, interestingly the US has seen a rise in the number of Russian immigrants arriving at the US southern border with Mexico, despite tensions between the two nations. can help with US employment-based visas

If you would like to apply for a US work visa – including L1 visasE2 visasO1 visas and H1B visas - can help. is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details. You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.