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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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U.S. Treasury Targets Belarusian Support for Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Today’s actions follow five previous Belarus-related sanctions tranches by the United States and its allies in response to the degradation of democracy in Belarus.

As part of the United States’ serious and expansive response to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals and entities due to Belarus’s support for, and facilitation of, the invasion. Today’s action focuses on Belarus’s defense sector and financial institutions, two areas in which Belarus has especially close ties to Russia. Belarus has become increasingly reliant on Russia for economic, political, and military support in recent years as the regime has clung to power following the fraudulent August 2020 presidential election.

Treasury’s Russia-related actions will also have significant downstream effects in Belarus. The Belarusian economy is highly dependent on key Russian financial institutions and their subsidiaries, including Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia (Sberbank), VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company (VTB), and State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB). Restrictions against Sberbank, VTB, and VEB, combined with the measures against Belarusian banks, target nearly one-fifth of the country’s entire financial sector.

“Having already sacrificed its legitimacy to suppress the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenka regime is now jeopardizing Belarus’s sovereignty by supporting Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “Treasury continues to disrupt Belarus’s military and financial capabilities through targeted sanctions. Further, due to the interconnectedness between the two countries, the actions Treasury took against Russia today will also impose severe economic pain on the Lukashenka regime.”

Today’s actions follow five previous Belarus-related sanctions tranches by the United States and its allies in response to the degradation of democracy in Belarus. The Lukashenka regime has continued to erode democracy in Belarus and has become increasingly subservient to Russia in the process. Proposed amendments to the Belarusian constitution will exacerbate that trend and will pave the way for increased Russian influence in Minsk.

BELARUSIAN STATE-OWNED BANKS

Today, OFAC is designating two significant state-owned banks that are among the most important banks in Belarus. The Belarus banking sector is highly concentrated, with state-owned banks directly or indirectly financing or conducting activity on behalf of the Government of Belarus (GoB). Sanctioning these two GoB-owned banks, in addition to Russia-related restrictions imposed on three other systemically important Belarusian financial institutions, means that a significant portion of the Belarusian financial sector is now subject to U.S. sanctions.

Belarussian Bank of Development and Reconstruction Belinvestbank Joint Stock Company (Belinvestbank) is the fourth largest financial institution in Belarus. Belinvestbank is being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB. Additionally, two Minsk-based companies, real estate firm Limited Liability Company Belinvest-Engineering and financial leasing company CJSC Belbizneslizing, are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Belinvestbank.

Bank Dabrabyt Joint-Stock Company (Bank Dabrabyt) is the eleventh largest financial institution in Belarus. Prior to the GoB’s purchase of the bank’s controlling shares in 2014, it was known as Bank Moscow Minsk JSC. Bank Dabrabyt is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB.

Concurrently, OFAC is issuing Belarus General Licenses 6 and 7 to authorize certain transactions related to the official business of the U.S. government and international organizations and entities, respectively.

BELARUSIAN DEFENSE AND SECURITY INDUSTRIES

The Belarusian defense industry is closely linked to Russia. For example, Russia relies on Belarusian components for several ongoing strategic projects. In an effort to address the destabilizing behavior of the Belarusian Armed Forces and its facilitation of Russia’s continued violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty, OFAC is taking further action against the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy. The entities and individuals sanctioned today build on OFAC’s December 2021 designation of Belarusian defense firms to further disrupt this critical sector.

Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant (MZKT) is a Belarusian state-owned enterprise (SOE) that is considered to be the flagship of the Belarusian military-industrial complex. It sells its products globally on behalf of the Lukashenka regime, including vehicle chassis that are exported to Iran and Russia, the latter of which places regular orders with MZKT for use in Russia’s defense sector. MZKT is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel and transportation sectors of the Belarus economy. The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) sanctioned MZKT in December 2020.

Aliaksei Ivanavich Rymasheuski (Rymasheuski) and Aliaksandr Piatrovich Vetsianevich (Vetsianevich) are senior executives of MZKT. Rymasheuski is MZKT’s Director General and Vetsianevich, a former State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian KGB) employee, is MZKT’s Deputy Director General. Rymasheuski and Vetsianevich are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being leaders, officials, senior executive officers, or members of the board of directors of MZKT.

State Authority for Military Industry of the Republic of Belarus (SAMI) is the central GoB agency that oversees the creation and coordination of Belarusian defense products. SAMI is tasked with developing, coordinating, and modernizing the defense industry for the Belarusian Armed Forces. SAMI is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the GoB.

Dmitry Aleksandrovich Pantus (Pantus) and Viachaslau Yevgenyevich Rassalai (Rassalai), are the Chairman and a Deputy Chairman of SAMI respectively. In their respective roles, Pantus and Rassalai oversee the Belarusian defense industry. Both Pantus and Rassalai are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been leaders or officials of the GoB.

State Owned Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise Belspetsvneshtechnika (BSVT) specializes in the export of high-tech products and military technologies. BSVT is an SOE under the control of SAMI, and both produces and controls military-purpose goods. BSVT is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB, as well as for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

OJSC KB Radar-Managing Company Holding Radar System (KB Radar) is one of the leading defense organizations under SAMI’s umbrella. KB Radar’s primary products are radar systems and electronic warfare (EW) equipment, including the Groza-S counter-drone EW system, which has been exported to customers outside of Belarus. KB Radar is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

JSC 558 Aircraft Repair Plant (558 ARP) is a Belarusian defense company that develops and manufactures aircraft protection systems. 558 ARP also maintains and repairs aircraft equipment and trains other personnel how to repair and operate certain aviation materiel. 558 ARP cooperates with customers in more than 30 countries across the world. 558 ARP is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

Public Joint Stock Company Integral (Integral) is a Belarusian defense SOE that produces semiconductors for military end-users. Integral is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB, as well as for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

Industrial-Commercial Private Unitary Enterprise Minotor-Service (Minotor-Service) is a Minsk-based defense firm that produces armored vehicles that are in use by the Belarusian Armed Forces. Minotor-Service also modernizes military equipment and supplies spare parts and upgrades for combat vehicles currently in service. Minotor-Service is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

OOO Oboronnye Initsiativy (Oboronnye Initsiativy) is a Belarusian defense company specializing in EW equipment, including airborne defense suites that protect military aircraft. Oboronnye Initsiativy’s Talisman airborne defense suite has been installed on MiG-29 aircraft operated by the Syrian Air Force, which is a blocked entity that OFAC identified as being part of the Government of Syria on January 12, 2017. Oboronnye Initsiativy is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having had operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

OKB TSP Scientific Production Limited Liability Company (OKB TSP) is a Belarusian defense entity that produces a surface-to-air missile system, among other defense products. The company has held contracts and ties with multiple Russian defense entities, some of which are subject to U.S. sanctions. OKB TSP is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy.

LLC Synesis (Synesis) is a Belarusian security company with connections to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and has provided security software in support of the repression of protesters. Synesis produces a video surveillance system that is used by Russian and Belarusian authorities, including for the identification, apprehension, and persecution of protestors. LLC 24×7 Panoptes (24×7 Panoptes), a former Synesis subsidiary, previously operated the GoB’s video monitoring system. Both Synesis and 24×7 Panoptes are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the security sector of the economy of Belarus. The EU and UK sanctioned Synesis in December 2020.

Aliaksandr Yauhenavich Shatrou (Shatrou) is the owner and CEO of Synesis who has publicly criticized protestors detained by the police. He is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been a leader or official of Synesis. The EU sanctioned Shatrou in June 2021.

BELARUSIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS

In addition to targeting defense industry entities, OFAC is also taking action against several senior GoB security apparatus officials.

Viktor Gennadievich Khrenin is the Belarusian Minister of Defense. Khrenin is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been a leader or official of the GoB. Canada, the EU, and the UK sanctioned Khrenin in June 2021.

Aleksandr Grigorievich Volfovich is the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus. Volfovich is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been a leader or official of the GoB.

Lukashenka’s Inner Circle

Treasury is designating Aliaksandr Mikalaevich Zaitsau (Zaitsau) to continue efforts to hold Belarusian elites accountable for their support to the regime. A former GoB official, Zaitsau maintains close ties to the Lukashenka family. Zaitsau is the owner of OOO Sokhra (Sokhra), which is engaged in wholesale, gold mining, and the promotion of Belarusian industrial products in Africa and the Middle East.

Zaitsau is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Bremino Group, an entity that was designated in August 2021 pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the transportation sector of the Belarus economy. Sokhra is also being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Zaitsau. Canada and the EU sanctioned Zaitsau in June 2021, and the EU also sanctioned Sokhra in June 2021.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

For identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today, click here.

Read more at the Treasury Department

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