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U.S. President Joe Biden announced on June 12 that the U.S. government is extending sanctions against Belarus for an additional year over the Belarusian government's continued repressions of its citizens and support for Russia's war in Ukraine.
"The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons, and the Belarusian regime’s harmful activities and long-standing abuses, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," Biden wrote in his message to Congress.
Belarus was first labelled a national security threat due to the government's widespread human rights abuses and pervasive corruption in the 2006 Belarus elections.
The scope of the national security threat was expanded in an executive order in August 2021 in response to reports of election fraud by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. The sanctions were set to expire later this summer.
Belarus has been one of Russia's greatest allies and supporters since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022, having supplied Russia with over 130,000 tons of ammunition over the past year.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has also used Belarus as a strategic launching point for invading Ukraine. Most recently, Putin made plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory next month.
The U.S. government called Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko "reckless and irresponsible," in regard to talking about nuclear capabilities, but said that there is no indication that the movement of Russian nuclear weapons to Belarusian territory is underway.