Moscow (AP) —Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Belarusian authoritarian leaders on Tuesday. Belarus has become increasingly dependent on Moscow’s support amid heightened tensions with the West.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko thanked Putin for “very serious support from Russia” and promised that the country would repay the loan legitimately.
Putin then praised Belarus as a “trustworthy and stable partner” at a meeting in St. Petersburg.
Belarus’ economy hit by a coronavirus pandemic, the European Union imposes bruising sanctions on some of its major exports over the diversion of passenger jets by Belarus to arrest opposition journalists on May 23 I got a new blow when I did.
Lukashenko has blamed the restrictions and announced that it will suspend cooperation with the EU on stopping illegal immigrants in retaliation for Belarus’ damage to economic sanctions.
Lithuania, an EU member state that has allowed Belarusian opposition to evacuate, has accused Belarusian authorities of encouraging the influx of migrants from Iraq, other Middle Eastern countries and Africa. EU border agencies have pledged to step up support for Lithuania to stop the flow of immigrants.
Belarus has been shaken by months of protests after Lukashenko was re-elected in the sixth quarter of the vote in August 2020.
Authorities responded to the protests with a large-scale crackdown in which more than 35,000 people were arrested and thousands were beaten by police. Major opposition figures have been imprisoned or forced to leave the country.