Friday, February 26, 2021

Putin meets Lukashenko in Sochi


Letztes Update am

A good six months after the protests began in Belarus, the ruler Alexander Lukashenko plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. The 66-year-old is also traveling to the Black Sea city of Sochi. According to information from Moscow, the discussion is about the further development of relations between the two countries, particularly economic and energy issues. Belarus’ economy is heavily dependent on Russia, which supplies oil and gas, for example.

Moscow sees its neighbors and allies as a strategically important buffer zone to NATO. The two heads of state had last met in September, also in Sochi. Putin had promised the financially troubled neighboring country a billion-euro loan. Lukashenko said at last that this should not be the point this time.

The two countries had only signed an agreement on Friday according to which Belarus will now export its oil products via Russian ports in the Baltic Sea. This step is seen as a reaction to the sanctions imposed on Belarus by the neighboring Baltic states, which Minsk previously relied on for its exports.

After the presidential election on August 9, which is widely considered to be falsified, mass protests broke out in Belarus with more than 30,000 arrests, hundreds injured and several dead. Recently there were only a few actions. After 26 years in power, Lukashenko had himself confirmed by the election commission for a sixth term with 80.1 percent of the vote. The EU no longer recognizes him as president. Russia, on the other hand, still stands by the head of state, but has repeatedly urged him to reform the constitution.


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