WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Saturday released the following statement on Belarusian president Lukashenka’s latest round of detentions:

“I’m deeply troubled by the Lukashenka regime’s continuing campaign of repression, punctuated this week by a raid on RFE/RL’s bureau in Minsk and the detention of more journalists and human rights activists. The new economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU must be fully implemented and a new sanctions package should be prepared now, in the likely event that Lukashenka’s desperation and repression intensifies further.  It’s also time for the United States—in conjunction with our allies in Europe—to invest significantly more resources in independent media in places like Ukraine and Belarus,”  said Murphy. “The Foreign Relations Committee recently voted for my amendment to double funding for the Global Engagement Center, which funds free media and counter-propaganda efforts, and I’m working through the Appropriations Committee to ensure those resources are available.” 

In May, Murphy along with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) traveled to Lithuania and Ukraine to reaffirm U.S. commitment to regional partners and strengthen democratic reforms. In Lithuania, Murphy, Shaheen and Portman met with Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Vilnius to discuss the Lukashenka regime’s increasing human rights abuses against political opposition, including the recent hijacking of a civilian airliner to unlawfully arrest and detain journalist Raman Pratasevich.