World Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbit

15:08  11 august  2020
15:08  11 august  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Belarus leader pledges allegiance to Russia ahead of vote

  Belarus leader pledges allegiance to Russia ahead of vote MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Belarus's authoritarian leader vowed Tuesday to maintain a close alliance with Russia as he seeks a sixth term in office amid a surge of opposition protests. In a state-of-the-nation address ahead of Sunday's election, President Alexander Lukashenko said the partnership between the neighbors reflects historic ties. “Russia has always been and will remain our close ally irrespective of who takes power in Belarus or Russia,” Lukashenko said.

Moscow is using its own economic might to weaken Lukashenko and increase its influence on Belarus , an ally facing a crisis that stems from Longer-term, Russia may seek to cement closer integration with Belarus , possibly reviving a push for a single currency that would sharply increase

That said , it seems that Russia would still prefer Lukashenko to the alternative, especially if it takes the form of revolution. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Lukashenko will come out on top of the current crisis . In that case, Putin may be able to reap some dividends.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Tuesday that Russia was trying to use a political crisis in Belarus to draw Minsk closer into its orbit by pressuring it to agree to closer integration.

Linas Antanas Linkevičius wearing a suit and tie: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Riga © Reuters/Ints Kalnins Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Riga

President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he wanted neighbouring Belarus to reactivate stalled plans for more integration with Russia after a contested election win left Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, an on-off Russian ally, on the defensive.

Linkevicius, speaking to Reuters in a video call, called Russia's actions another "vector of instability" for Belarus.

"When the (Belarusian) government is weaker, it's logical there's pressure. It's an additional challenge," he said.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Russia May Use Belarus Unrest to Boost Security Against West, Officials Say .
"I mean the stars are aligned. The best timing to inject 'order' is when a society is in chaos, especially given the power vacuum," a senior U.S. intelligence official told Newsweek.Facing mass protests in the wake of an election mired with fraud accusations from opposition movements and the West, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has consulted Russian President Vladimir Putin for assistance in restoring order in his country, which borders Russia and the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance states of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

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This is interesting!