White House press secretary Jen Psaki outlined actions the United States had taken, in conjunction with the EU, UK and Canada, to impose sanctions on key members of the regime in Belarus.
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the video player above.
“Today we are holding the regime accountable,” Psaki told reporters.
The sanctions were imposed on several senior officials in Belarus over the forced diversion to Minsk of a passenger plane traveling between two EU countries last month. Asset freezes and travel bans were also imposed on a number of officials linked to the security crackdown that continues to rock the country some 10 months after President Alexander Lukashenko was returned to power in elections branded by the EU and others as “fraudulent.”
Among those targeted by the United States were close Lukashenko associates, those accused of helping to violently suppress peaceful protests since last year and others alleged to have orchestrated fraud during the elections.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is expected to fall short of his commitment to shipping 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June because of regulatory and other hurdles, officials said as they announced new plans Monday for sharing the shots globally.
The White House announced the final allocations for the doses, with 60 million shots going to the global COVAX vaccine-sharing alliance and 20 million being directed to specific partners. But fewer than 10 million doses have been shipped around the world, including 2.5 million doses delivered to Taiwan over the weekend, and about 1 million doses delivered to Mexico, Canada and South Korea earlier this month.
Officials said that while the U.S.-produced doses are ready, deliveries have been delayed due to U.S. and the recipient countries’ legal, logistical and regulatory requirements.
“What we’ve found to be the biggest challenge is not actually the supply – we have plenty of doses to share with the world – but this is a Herculean logistical challenge,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Psaki said shipments will go out as soon as countries are ready to receive the doses and the administration sorts out logistical complexities, including vaccination supplies like syringes and alcohol prep pads, cold-storage for the doses, customs procedures and even language barriers.
Biden is expected to launch another week of engagement with members of both parties on an infrastructure deal, and the White House is likely at some point to hear from a bipartisan group of senators working on a scaled-back $1 trillion plan as an alternative.