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article imageTensions grow between Russia and NATO after Lukashenko election

By Ken Hanly     Aug 18, 2020 in Politics
Since the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko on August 9th both EU and US officials have rejected the results and demanded that a fresh vote be held. To counter pressure from the west Lukashenko was able to gain the support of Russian president Putin.
Lukashenko and Putin talk
Putin and Lukashenko discussed the election in a Saturday phone call. Lukashenko said that Putin promised that Russia would provide comprehensive assistance to provide security for Belarus in the event of external militarys threats at the first request. In a statement on Sunday the Kremlin confirmed that Putin had offered Lukashenko military support.
The Presidential election
The August 9th election official results gave Lukashenko about 80 percent of the vote. In a speech Sunday Lukashenko said that if he agreed to a new round of elections Belarus “will die as a state, as a people, as a nation.” Lukashenko also warned of a NATO build-up near Belarus and claimed that there were NATO tanks and aircraft 15 minutes from the border of Belarus.
NATO denies any military buildup
Oana Lungescu a NATO spokesperson said
in a statement about the alleged build-up near the border with Belarus: “There is no Nato build-up in the region. NATO’s multinational presence in the eastern part of the Alliance is not a threat to any country. It is strictly defensive, proportionate, and designed to prevent conflict and preserve peace.”
However, Belarus has borders with three NATO countries to its west: Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. Just this Saturday Poland signed a defense treaty with the US which increases the number of US troops in Poland to at least 5,500. Russia regards these troops as a threat but they also will be seen as a threat to Belarus. The US has expressed its support for protesters in Belarus and has called for Lukashenko to step down.
Lukashenko suggests a solution
On Monday Lukashenko said he would be willing to hand over power if a referendum called on him to do so. However, he said he would not step down just because protesters demanded he do so. Lukashenko has been in power since 1994. Only his first election has been judged as free and fair by international monitors.. Lukashenko's main opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also claims the office of president.
More about Alexander lukashenko, Belarus election, NATO Ruissia relations
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