A Belarusian court has jailed a pair of journalists for two years on charges of orchestrating protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, while Washington imposed visa restrictions on 43 Belarusian officials it accused of undermining democracy.
Belarusians Katsiaryna Andreyeva, 27, and Darya Chultsova, 23, were detained in November in an apartment they had been using as a vantage point to film demonstrations over the death of a protester killed several days earlier.
Both women, who were working for Belsat, a Warsaw, Poland-based satellite TV channel that provides Belarussians with an alternative to state-run television, pleaded not guilty.
They appeared in a cage at Thursday's hearing, hugging and making "V"-for-victory signs. Their lawyer said they would appeal.
Asked about Thursday's verdict, Belarusian Information Minister Igor Lutsky said the court would not have made its ruling unless it was justified.
More than 33,000 people have been detained in a violent crackdown on protests against Lukashenko's rule following a contested August election his opponents say was rigged. He has been in office since 1994.
In Washington later on Thursday, the United States announced visa restrictions on 43 Belarusians, including law enforcement officials it accused of detaining and abusing peaceful demonstrators.
Also targeted were judges and prosecutors allegedly involved in sentencing protesters and journalists.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was alarmed by Lukashenko's violent crackdown on protesters, activists and journalists.
"We stand with the brave people of Belarus and support their right to free and fair elections," he said in a statement.
Neighbouring Lithuania, where Tsikhanouskaya is based, urged Minsk to end a "spiral of repression". Poland said it would have "very serious consequences".
The European Union's foreign affairs spokesman, Peter Stano, condemned the "shameful crackdown on media".