Russian spymaster accuses US of fomenting Belarus protests

Moscow, September 16

Russia’s intelligence chief on Wednesday accused the United States of fomenting large demonstrations in opposition to Belarus’ authoritarian president which have entered their sixth week.

Protesters in Belarus are looking for the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko, denouncing his landslide re-election within the August 9 vote as rigged and demanding an finish to his 26-year rule.

The US and the European Union have criticised the election as neither free nor honest, and urged Lukashenko to start out talks with the opposition — a name he has rejected.

Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, claimed in an announcement carried by Russian information businesses Wednesday that the US has funded the Belarusian opposition and inspired the protests.

“It effectively amounts to a thinly-veiled attempt to stage another ‘colour revolution’ and an anti-constitutional coup, the objectives and tasks of which have nothing in common with interests of citizens of Belarus,” Naryshkin mentioned in a reference to the colour-coded uprisings that swept out unpopular leaders in Ukraine and different ex-Soviet nations.

Naryshkin added that his company has info that “the US is playing a key role in the current developments in Belarus”. He alleged that the US has earmarked tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to finance Belarus’ opposition teams.

The US Embassy in Minsk had no rapid remark.

In an extended speech to high Belarus officers Wednesday, Lukashenko accused the US and its allies of spearheading the push to unseat him by rigorously ready protests. He charged that the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine all performed a significant position. All these international locations have denied related claims by Lukashenko previously.

“The Belarusian 2020 scenario is a combination of the most effective ‘colour’ destabilisation technologies that have been tested in various countries,” he mentioned. “They obviously count on the scale and duration of protests to wear us down and exhaust our resources. We aren’t relaxing and stand ready to respond to any challenge.” The Western strain has pushed Lukashenko to additional cement ties with Russia, his important sponsor and ally. The neighboring international locations have a union settlement and keep robust political, financial and army ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a brand new USD 1.5 billion mortgage to Belarus on Monday when he hosted Lukashenko for 4 hours of talks within the Black Sea resort metropolis of Sochi. The Belarusian opposition has condemned Moscow for providing the Belarusian strongman a monetary lifeline, warning that it could tarnish future ties between the international locations.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reaffirmed Wednesday that Moscow sees Lukashenko as Belarus’ legitimately elected chief.

Asked concerning the Kremlin’s view of a proposal from Belarusian important opposition challenger, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to supply Lukashenko safety ensures if he agrees to step down, Peskov responded that Belarus’ chief doesn’t want any.

“Lukashenko is the legitimate president of Belarus,” Peskov mentioned in a convention name with reporters. “I don’t think that he needs any security guarantees in his own country.” Naryshkin charged that the U.S. has taken Tsikhanouskaya, who moved to Lithuania after the vote beneath the authorities strain, and different Belarusian opposition activists beneath its “close patronage” to advertise them as future leaders of the nation.

In a bid to rally Moscow’s help, Lukashenko has engaged in related rhetoric, accusing the West of fuelling the protests in a bid to isolate Russia. Earlier this week, Russian paratroopers deployed to Belarus for the drills that can run by Sept. 25 close to Brest, on the border with Poland.

At a gathering with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu who visited Belarus Wednesday for talks on deepening army cooperation, Lukashenko recommended planning extra maneuvers sooner or later.

“We need to think about a second stage of the drills and more exercises, to work out a plan irrespective of what they say,” he mentioned. “We aren’t going to provoke or defy anyone, but we must protect our interests.” — AP


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