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WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Russians it accused of gross human rights violations and slapped fresh measures on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, increasing pressure on Moscow and its close ally amid the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on four people and one entity it accused of playing a role in concealing events around the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky or of being connected to human rights violations against human rights advocate Oyub Titiev.

The Treasury statement also said it was adding to its sanctions against Lukashenko and also targeting his wife.

They were the latest U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow since Russian forces invaded Ukraine nearly three weeks ago in the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two. Moscow calls the assault a “special operation.”

“Today’s designations demonstrate the United States will continue to impose concrete and significant consequences for those who engage in corruption or are connected to gross violations of human rights,” the head of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea Gacki, said in the statement.

“We condemn Russia’s attacks on humanitarian corridors in Ukraine and call on Russia to cease its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine.”

Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer arrested in 2008 after alleging that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining of mistreatment.

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