Alexander Lukashenko flew to Russia on Monday to entreat Vladimir Putin for help, as a crackdown on the opposition in Belarus confirmed no signal of dispelling mass demonstrations in opposition to the veteran chief’s rule.
- Last Updated: September 14, 2020, 3:57 PM IST
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MOSCOW: Alexander Lukashenko flew to Russia on Monday to entreat Vladimir Putin for help, as a crackdown on the opposition in Belarus confirmed no signal of dispelling mass demonstrations in opposition to the veteran chief’s rule.
Belarusian state media confirmed Lukashenko disembarking from his airplane within the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the place Putin typically hosts visiting dignitaries.
More than 100,000 folks defied more and more aggressive Belarusian safety forces on Sunday to take to the streets for the fifth straight weekend, demanding Lukashenko step down and taunting him with chants of “You’re a rat!”
Lukashenko, in energy for 26 years, calls the protests a Western plot and has positioned his destiny in Moscow’s arms, requesting financial help, and probably navy support.
The opposition accuses Lukashenko of rigging victory in an election final month, which he denies. Since then, hundreds of individuals have been arrested and almost all of the opposition’s key leaders have been jailed, deported or compelled into exile.
Police mentioned they detained 774 folks at Sunday’s protests.
The opposition says it fears Lukashenko may attempt to promote out Belarusian independence for Putin’s help. Sviatlana Tsikhounskaya, the opposition candidate whose supporters say she was the true winner of the election, mentioned no settlement reached by Lukashenko with Putin could be legitimate.
“I want to remind Vladimir Putin: whatever you accept and whatever you agree upon during the meeting in Sochi will have no legal weight,” she wrote on social media website Telegram.
“All the agreements signed with an illegitimate Lukashenko will be revised by the new leadership. Because the Belarusian people have refused to put their trust in Lukashenko and support him at the election. I am very sorry that you have decided to engage in dialogue with a dictator and not the Belarusian people.”
Lukashenko has been a prickly ally of Russia up to now, with an ungainly private relationship with Putin. But the Kremlin’s actions thus far counsel Putin has no want to see the chief of a neighbouring ally toppled by road protest.
Putin mentioned final month he had arrange a “reserve police force” at Lukashenko’s request, to be deployed provided that wanted. On Monday Russia will ship paratroopers to Belarus for joint “Slavic brotherhood” navy drills till Sept. 25, RIA information company reported. Russia has additionally supplied to restructure Belarusian debt and help its banks.
Belarus is the previous Soviet republic with the closest political, social, financial and defence relationships with Russia. The two nations even proclaimed a “union state” within the 1990s, full with a Soviet-style purple flag.
The value of Putin’s help could possibly be Lukashenko’s acceptance of even larger Russian dominance. The Kremlin has lengthy pushed for nearer integration, together with a joint forex. Lukashenko has resisted a few of these measures.
(Additional reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Writing by Mark Trevelyan and Peter Graff)
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