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Canada sanctions some 20 Belarusian officials for their support of the Russian invasion

(C) Provided by News 360 In the foreground the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Melanie Joly. - SEAN KILPATRICK / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Canada's Foreign Affairs Department announced Tuesday a new package of sanctions against Belarusian officials for allegedly supporting the war launched by Russia in Ukraine nine months ago. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Belarusian authorities are allowing human rights violations and their country to serve as a "platform" for Russia to launch attacks against Ukraine. "These measures will put more pressure on Belarusian leaders", said Joly, who called on President Alexander Lukashenko to stop "being an instrument of the Russian regime".

The sanctions will also have an impact on 16 Belarusian companies in the military, technology, engineering, transport and banking sectors. The announcement coincides with the visit of the Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, to Canada's capital, Ottawa, to meet with Minister Joley, as well as with several deputies and senators, reports Global News. Tikhanovskaya fled to Lithuania after the disputed August 2020 elections, in which Lukashenko won again, this time with 80 percent of the vote.

Since Belarus ceased to be a republic of the Soviet Union, Lukashenko has won every election since 1994.

The questionable results of these latest elections, as well as the repression of protests against them, have provoked an unprecedented wave of sanctions by the West against Lukashenko's government and its partners.

Restrictions that increased after forcing the landing of a plane in which an opponent was traveling to arrest him, as well as for the support that Minsk is allegedly giving to Moscow in the war in Ukraine.