Belarusian leaders ready to invite Russian troops “as needed” – News-Herald

By YURASKARMANAU

Ukraine, Kiev – The authoritarian President of Belarus said on Friday that he was ready to invite Russian troops to the country if such a move was necessary to secure both Belarus and Russia.

But President Alexander Lukashenko has said there is no need to do so at the moment.

Lukashenko stressed in a statement by the state-run Bertha News Agency that he responded to last year’s anti-government move without involving troops from other countries, but was reluctant to bring in Russian troops if necessary. Added.

Belarus can quickly deploy 500,000 people, but “if that is not enough, all Russian troops will be brought in,” Lukashenko said, Berta said. “Don’t hesitate if you need it.”

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not receive an official request from Belarus to deploy troops to Moscow, and the decision was “an official request from a leader of a country to a leader of a country. ‘another. This is only possible after. “

Russia and Belarus have close military and defense relations. Two Russian radar sites that communicate with nuclear submarines in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean are based in Belarus. In September, the former Soviet Union will conduct a large-scale joint military exercise.

Until recently, the Lukashenko administration resisted Moscow’s attempt to expand its military presence in Belarus and refused the request to open an air base in the country and station additional troops.

However, during the political crisis in Belarus following the re-election of Lukashenko in the sixth phase in August 2020, Russia pledged military assistance to neighboring countries and granted a loan of $ 1.5 billion to the economy. ill from Belarus. Was assigned.

Lukashenko faced months of protest after the announcement of the winner of the August 2020 presidential poll, which the opposition and the West saw as fraudulent. He carried out a large-scale crackdown in response to the protest, arresting more than 35,000 people and beating thousands by police.

The United States and the European Union have imposed multiple sanctions on Belarusian leaders and key sectors of their economies in the aftermath of the crisis.

Belarusian political analyst Valerie Kalbarevich told The Associated Press that Lukashenko’s Friday statement was a clear attempt to frighten the West.

“For the first time he threatened to deploy Russian troops to Belarus, but the Kremlin is in no rush to support these initiatives,” Karbalevich said.

Lukashenko accused the West of trying to organize a revolution in a country dominated by iron fists for decades and of preparing a coup, including imposing sanctions on Belarus. His electoral challenger fled to Lithuania, and Lithuanian authorities claim Belarusian authorities are now flooding the Lithuanian border with immigrants to put pressure on the EU state.

“They seem to be looking for our painful places. They mainly affected the export sector of the Belarusian economy: petrochemicals, mechanical engineering, potash, etc. But the main focus is on people. It is about not giving Belarus pensions, salaries, social assistance, education and medical care and causing discontent among Belarus, ”Lucashenko said.

The Belarusian president argued that there was a foreign mastermind behind this, calling for further action against the country’s human rights groups, and said government pressure on independent media would continue.

“The freedom of expression that we protect under the current constitution has turned into extremist activity,” Lukashenko accused and urged state officials to tightly control all journalists and bloggers. “Criticism from the authorities is one thing. We have always taken criticism correctly … except to demand rebellion and slaughter of those who do not support these so-called revolutionary feelings and brute force. is.”

Belarusian authorities have increased pressure on non-governmental organizations and independent media in recent weeks, attacking offices and apartments of activists and journalists more than 200 times this month, according to the Viasna Human Rights Center. this only.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists said attacks and detentions against journalists continued in Minsk and other cities on Friday. Earlier this week, authorities said Poland-funded Belsat TV channel was an extremist group.

A total of 28 Belarusian journalists have been detained pending trial or termination of their sentences. A group of journalists on Thursday called on authorities to provide emergency hospital treatment to the best journalists detained ahead of the trial.

Associated Press editor Daria Litvinova contributed to this report from Moscow.

Belarusian leaders ready to invite Russian troops “as needed” – News-Herald

Source link Belarusian leaders ready to invite Russian troops “as needed” – News-Herald

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