In a recent press conference, Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, made it unequivocally clear that until Minsk releases political prisoners, there will be no improvement in the bilateral relations or any relief from sanctions. This stance comes amid an escalating international situation and highlights the U.S.'s commitment to uphold human rights.
Additional Sanctions on Russia
In a parallel development, the United States has enforced additional sanctions targeting three entities and three oil tankers involved in shipping Russian Urals crude above the set price cap of $70 per barrel. This move aims to curtail Russia's revenue from offshore oil shipments. The entity's and tankers' actions have violated the price cap mechanism by using Western maritime services, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Belarus' CBDC Initiative
Meanwhile, Belarus is looking to expedite the launch of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as a means of evading sanctions led by the U.S. and the European Union. The President of Belarus could issue a verdict related to the CBDC in the following days. This move could enable its firms to continue trading with international partners despite the sanctions.
A Cautionary Tale in Minsk
In local news, an 18-year-old resident of Minsk is facing criminal charges after knowingly making a false crime report. The young man, who had sold a gifted laptop to buy a new mobile phone, fabricated a story about the laptop being stolen to avoid admitting the truth to his father. However, the truth eventually surfaced, leading to the current legal predicament. If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.