Lapdog or a flex of independence? UK's economic sanctions imposed on Belarus

This week saw the UK impose a series of additional sanctions on Belarus with President Lukashenko retorting swiftly that the UK was the 'lapdog' of the US and that London should choke on the newly imposed measures.

Although the UK currently has varying sanctions regimes against over 20 nations, this is one of the first that has attracted significant public attention. 

Since the UK left the EU there has been an autonomous sanctions regime in place against listed individuals, entities and states. The Government therefore has the power to independently amend these lists as considered appropriate. Whilst there may of course be an alignment with the US and EU sanctions regimes, the UK's framework operates independently. 

To impose restrictions on UK businesses dealing with certain aspects of Belarus' economy would be no easy decision - especially as the UK begins to emerge from the pandemic - and there will be significant businesses which will be affected that have dealings with certain financial instruments, petroleum, aviation, cigarette manufacturing and aviation. I am fairly certain at the time of writing that there are no longer direct flights to Minsk - a trip would take around 14 hours! 

The sanctions of course are designed to place pressure on the state whilst attempting to limit the affects on the general population - no easy feat.

The original sanctions imposed on Belarus independently by the UK earlier this year followed the forced landing of a Ryanair flight and subsequent detaining of journalist Roman Protasevich. These sanctions are designed to be a response to certain human rights violations.


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