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Mon Sep 14, 2020, 10:26 AM

Belarus leader visits Russia to secure support amid protests

Source: Associated Press

Belarus leader visits Russia to secure support amid protests

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
September 14, 2020

MOSCOW (AP) — Belarus’ authoritarian president visited Russia Monday in a bid to secure more loans and political support, as demonstrations against the extension of his 26-year rule entered their sixth week.

Alexander Lukashenko’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi come a day after an estimated 150,000 people flooded the streets of the Belarusian capital, demanding Lukashenko’s resignation. The Interior Ministry said 774 people were arrested in Minsk and other cities of Belarus for holding unsanctioned rallies on Sunday.

Putin said that Russia would provide a $1.5 billion loan to Belarus and fulfill all its obligations under a union treaty between the neighbors. Speaking at the start of the talks, he emphasized that the Belarusians themselves must settle the situation without any foreign meddling, and commended Lukashenko for his pledge to conduct a constitutional reform.

Protesters in Belarus have dismissed Lukashenko’s reelection for a sixth term in the Aug. 9 vote as rigged. The United States and the European Union have criticized the election as neither free nor fair and urged the Belarusian leader to engage in talks with the opposition, a demand he rejected.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/2f81078546d76c55c91b9276081d58f8

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