Conflicts & War

Lukashenko accuses West of trying to destabilize Belarus

Moscow, May 28 (EFE).- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday accused the West of trying to destabilize the former Soviet republic at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lukashenko traveled to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to meet with Putin to discuss the sanctions imposed by the European Union in response to the diversion of a Ryanair commercial plane to Minsk and the subsequent arrest of a Belarusian opposition journalist who was on board the flight.

“An attempt is taking place to destabilize the situation to the levels of August last year,” he said, referring to the outbreak of massive anti-government protests following a presidential election that was widely considered to be fraudulent.

“It is very clear what our Western friends are looking for. But there are no measures that the Bolsheviks have not taken. And we will take them too,” the Belarusian leader said.

A visibly agitated Lukashenko showed a briefcase to his Russian counterpart with “some documents” about the May 23 plane incident that led to the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich and his Lithuanian partner, Sofia Sapega.

“So that you understand what happened. So that he understands what kind of people they are,” he said.

He also criticized the European Union for punishing the state-owned Belavia airline with the closure of its airspace, arguing that the company had nothing to do with the incident involving the Ryanair flight between Athens and Vilnius.

Putin highlighted an incident in 2013 when Austria, at the request of the US, was forced to land the plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales on suspicion that former CIA analyst Edward Snowden was on board.

“The Bolivian president’s plane was taken down. They took the president out of the plane and nothing: silence,” he said.

Russia has stood by Minsk since the incident on Sunday, rebuffing the sanctions adopted by the EU and considering the case to be an internal affair. EFE

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