Belarus unrest: Putin, Lukashenko hold talks

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko discussed the current situation in Belarus in the light of the presidential election and subsequent nationwide protests during a phone call.

“Lukashenko informed Putin about the developments following the presidential election in Belarus. Both sides expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon,” the Kremlin said in a statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

The main thing is to prevent destructive forces from using these problems to cause damage to the mutually beneficial relations of the two countries within the Union State, it said.

The unrest erupted after Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in last week’s election, the result of which has been condemned amid widespread allegations of vote-rigging.

According to the Central Election Commission, the president, who has been in power since 1994, won 80.1 per cent of the vote, while the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered only 10.12 per cent.

In the recent protests, thousands of people waved flags, lit candles and laid flowers at the scene close to the metro station where one of the protesters, Alexander Taraikovsky, died on August 10.

Many chanted “Leave!” – a call for President Lukashenko to resign – and some carried signs with slogans against police violence.

The rallies were also against Lukashenko saying that Russia had agreed to offer security assistance in the case of external military threats.

Image courtesy of credit: kpbs.org

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