America and Europe have imposed a travel ban on Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko and 157 of his officials because of his brutal crackdown on opposition activists after December's disputed elections.
The EU also ordered an asset freeze but stopped short of economic sanctions. The US said the "disproportionate use of force and initial detentions of hundreds of demonstrators oblige the US and others in the international community to act". Mr Lukashenko threatened retaliation but released key figures from jail, including journalist Irina Khalip of Russia's Novaya Gazeta. The regime had threatened to take her three-year-old son into care. She is under house arrest and barred from contacting her jailed husband Andrei Sannikov.