Belarus’ embattled president Alexander Lukashenko has landed in Russia for face-to-face talks with Vladimir Putin.
The assembly is the primary between the 2 leaders since protests broke out within the Japanese Ecu nation over the debatable re-election of Mr Lukashenko for a 6th time period ultimate month.
Mr Putin has publicly supported the 66-year-old – dubbed “Europe’s ultimate dictator” – as the rustic’s chief, in spite of claims Belarus’ election on nine August was once rigged.
Mr Lukashenko is visiting Russia in a bid to protected extra loans and political give a boost to as demonstrations towards the extension of his 26-year rule input a 6th week.
The talks shall be held within the Black Sea hotel of Sochi – an afternoon after an estimated 150,000 other folks flooded the streets of the Belarusian capital, Minsk, difficult his resignation.
Belarus’ internal ministry stated 774 other folks have been arrested in Minsk and different towns across the nation for containing unsanctioned rallies on Sunday.
Moscow has promised to ship army forces to intrude if the protests escalate.
Mr Lukashenko has pushed aside protesters as Western puppets, and rejected calls for from the US and the EU to behavior a discussion with the opposition.
In a bid to win Moscow’s give a boost to, Mr Lukashenko – who insists he received 80% of the election vote quite – has attempted to forged the protests as an effort by means of the West to isolate Russia.
Mr Putin sees neighbouring Belarus as a key bulwark towards NATO and a big conduit for power exports to Europe.
Russia and Belarus have a union treaty envisaging shut political, financial and army ties, however they have got continuously engaged in acrimonious disputes.
Earlier than the election, Mr Lukashenko time and again accused the Kremlin of urgent Belarus to desert its independence.
However with the United States and the EU criticising the election as neither loose nor truthful, and readying a bundle of sanctions, Mr Lukashenko now has to depend squarely on Russia’s give a boost to.
The Kremlin is believed to worry the possibility of the protests forcing the resignation of Mr Lukashenko, fearing it would embolden Mr Putin’s critics at house.
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A number of of Belarus’s outspoken activists were arrested or forcibly got rid of from the rustic.
Remaining week, opposition chief Maria Kolesnikova stated she was once pressured right into a van by means of masked males in Minsk and pushed greater than 200 miles to the Ukranian border.
The 38-year-old is in prison within the capital on a fee of undermining nationwide safety.
Moscow has additionally signalled it’s able to talk about the restructuring of Belarus’ £772.6 million debt to Russia, a key factor in as of late’s talks between the leaders.