In a recent move, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on a Belgian individual, Hans De Geetere, for his involvement in procuring electronics for the Russian military. The sanctions also target De Geetere's companies, as well as a group of Belarusian firms and individuals connected to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has identified a network led by De Geetere, consisting of nine entities and five individuals across various countries including Russia, Belgium, Cyprus, Sweden, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands. These entities and individuals are accused of playing a role in the acquisition of military-grade equipment for Russia.
Simultaneously, the U.S. Justice Department has unsealed two indictments against De Geetere, and the Commerce Department has added him and five firms to its entity list. These actions effectively block their access to U.S. property and bank accounts, and prohibit them from engaging in business with American entities.
De Geetere has not responded to a request for comment from the Associated Press.
The State Department has expressed its commitment to collaborating with allies and partners to expose and disrupt networks involved in Russia's military procurement. The U.S. aims to impede the Kremlin's access to tools that support its alleged illegal war against Ukraine.
In a separate move, the U.S. Treasury has also imposed sanctions on 11 entities and 8 individuals linked to the Alyaksandr Lukashenka regime in Belarus. The sanctions are a response to the regime's suppression of Belarusian democratic civil society, alleged corrupt enrichment of the Lukashenka family, and complicity in Russia's war against Ukraine.
Brian Nelson, Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has emphasized the objective of holding the Lukashenka regime accountable for its anti-democratic actions and human rights abuses. The U.S. will continue to target revenue generators, individuals supporting Russia's aggression in Ukraine, and those facilitating Lukashenka's authoritarian rule.
Overall, these sanctions reflect the U.S. government's ongoing efforts to address alleged wrongdoing in relation to Russia's military activities and human rights abuses in both Ukraine and Belarus.