Belarus riots: Putin’s response and US intervention

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Protest continues – international sources intervene: The wave of violent demonstrations in Belarus continues, following the election of the president Alexander Lukashenko More than 80% of the vote. Today (Saturday) it was reported that international elements continue to try and assist the Eastern European country, in order to calm the winds. Lukashenko today referred to external intervention attempts, dismissing them sharply, saying: “Belarus does not need external mediators to intervene to resolve the situation. We will not give our country to anyone.”

Earlier today, it was announced, by an official announcement issued by the Kremlin, that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, Spoke with Lukashenko, and that during their conversation the two concluded that they are confident that the riots in the country following the election will soon subside. During the conversation, the incoming president noted that this is a problem that threatens more countries in the region.

Belarus riots (Photo: REUTERS / Vasily Fedosenko)

It should be noted that relations between the two countries were strained recently before the election, after Russia expressed support for Lukashenko’s party. Due to Belarus’ location, Putin sees the country as an important strategic destination that constitutes a barrier between Russia and external influences of organizations, such as the European Union and NATO.

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This meeting comes in the wake of threats from other neighboring countries, backed by the EU statement, which said sanctions would be imposed on the country if the violent riots were not stopped. Last Friday, the union’s foreign ministers scheduled an unusual debate on the issue of demonstrations. The UN also voiced its aggressive stance on the issue, and the organization’s human rights commissioner, Michelle Belchett, Condemned the “violent response” from the Belarusian authorities, as well as the arrest of the protesters.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (Photo: Sergei Gapon / Pool via REUTERS)Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (Photo: Sergei Gapon / Pool via REUTERS)

The US has decided to take a position on the situation, and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Argued that the superpower is following what is happening in the country with concern, and that they intend to intervene and discuss the issue with the EU. In the past, during Pompeo’s visit to Poland, he spoke in relation to the complex political situation in neighboring Belarus, arguing that his country would try to help the Belarusian people as much as possible, “so that they could achieve freedom and sovereignty in their country.”

As mentioned, the riots erupted earlier this week, when Lukashenko won a majority of votes, entering the sixth term in number. Opposition rival Svetlana Tikhnovskaya, a 37-year-old former teacher, won only 10 percent of the vote, prompting her supporters to start riots across the country. The contestant decided to enter the race after her husband, who opposes the regime, was jailed. The rallies in support of her throughout the campaign were particularly mass.

Tiknovskaya commented on the results immediately after the announcement of the loss, claiming that she did not accept the situation and that she considered herself a winner, adding that in her opinion the election results were falsified. The allegations were examined by foreign sources, who argued that there may be truth in her remarks. Meanwhile, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman commented on the situation, saying that “the elections in Belarus did not meet the minimum standards, there are many indications that the elections were indeed forged.”

Riots in Belarus after the presidential election. Photo: TUT.BY VIA REUTERS

As the riots escalated, Tikhnovskaya released another video in which she urged citizens not to oppose the police and to avoid risking their lives. During the video, a hint was heard that she chose to do so after apparently threatening her children’s lives. Now, according to local media reports, she has fled to neighboring Lithuania.

Belarusian police took to the streets and confronted the protesters, and the total number of arrests of incidents in recent days has risen to about 6,000 people. Security forces responded with a particularly harsh hand to the protesters, and even opened live fire against them. Mr Lukashenko, for his part, blamed the fire and said the protesters were cooperating with hostile Russian elements, accusing the protest leaders of criminal activity.

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