The UK has imposed sanctions including an asset freeze and travel ban on Belarus’ president Alexander Lukashenko in response to human rights abuses following his “rigged” re-election.
The measures also apply to seven other leading figures in his regime, including the president’s son and national security adviser Viktor Lukashenko.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the move sent a clear message to the "violent and fraudulent" regime.
It is the second time the UK’s new sanctions regime has been used and Mr Lukashenko is the first national leader to be made subject to restrictions.
The UK acted alongside Canada to announce the measures, stating that the regime in Belarus is responsible for a string of human rights violations against opposition figures and the media.
Thousands of people in Belarus have taken part in protests against the authoritarian leader’s re-election in August despite a brutal crackdown by the state’s security forces.
Mr Raab said: "Today the UK and Canada have sent a clear message by imposing sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko’s violent and fraudulent regime.
"We don’t accept the results of this rigged election."
He added: "We will hold those responsible for the thuggery deployed against the Belarusian people to account and we will stand up for our values of democracy and human rights."
The sanctions apply to:
– Alexander Lukashenko, the president.
– Viktor Lukashenko, his son and national security adviser.
– Igor Petrovich Sergeenko, the president’s chief of staff.
– Yuri Karayev, the minister of internal affairs.
– Alexander Barsukov, the chief of public security police.
– Yuri Nazarenko, commander of internal troops.
– Khazalbek Atabekov, deputy commander of internal troops.
– Dmitry Balaba, commander of the special purpose police unit of Minsk.