Russia Offers Military Support, as Protests Intensify in Belarus Over Rigged Election

President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo: Kremlin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo: Kremlin

By RMN News Service

Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended military support to Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, as demonstrations persist in Belarus against Lukashenko’s re-election.

Reports suggest that some protesters have been killed and thousands have been detained since last Sunday’s vote, which opponents of Lukashenko say was rigged to re-elect him.

Lukashenko – who has been in power for 26 years – has denied any poll manipulation citing official results that show his victory with over 80% of the vote.

The Kremlin said Putin has told Lukashenko that Russia was ready to assist Belarus in accordance with a collective military pact if necessary and said external pressure was being applied to the country, without saying where from.

In their telephone conversation on Sunday (August 15), President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko informed Putin about the developments following the presidential election in Belarus.

According to a Kremlin communique, both sides expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon. “The main thing is to prevent destructive forces from using these problems to cause damage to mutually beneficial relations of the two countries within the Union State,” the Kremlin statement added.

As protests continue in the East European nation, a “March for Freedom” was planned for Sunday afternoon to highlight alleged poll-rigging and police violence at subsequent protests.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of Lukashenko have been holding their own rally in the city, although reports reveal that state workers are being forced to attend the rally in support of Lukashenko.

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

The Central Election Commission declared that Lukashenko has bagged 80.1% of the vote while the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya received only 10.12%.

But Ms Tikhanovskaya has challenged the result saying that she has got 60-70% support where the votes were properly counted.

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Rakesh Raman