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Belarusian leader heads to Russia amid showdown with EU – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-05-28 05:07:01 –

Moscow (AP) — Belarusian authoritarian leaders headed to Russia on Friday for help in a fierce confrontation with Europe …

Moscow (AP) — Belarusian authoritarian leaders head to Russia on Friday to seek help in a fierce clash with the European Union over a flight relocation to arrest dissident journalists

According to the Kremlin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea mansion in Sochi.

Belarus said on Sunday that a Belarusian air traffic controller had threatened a bomb to the crew of a Ryanair jet flying from Greece to Lithuania, in Belarus with 26-year-old journalist Raman Platasevic. When instructed to land in the capital Minsk, it caused EU anger. Arrested with a Russian girlfriend.

In response, the EU advised Belarusian airlines to be locked out of their airspace and airports and European airlines to bypass Belarus. Agreed to tighten sanctions targeting the Cali industry and other sectors of the Belarusian economy.

Lukashenko, who has relentlessly suppressed dissenting opinions during more than a quarter of a century of reign, has defended his actions and accused the West of trying to “strangle” his country with sanctions.

He said he hopes to reach an agreement with Putin to restore the air link between Russia and Belarus, which was interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, before leaving for Moscow.

The 66-year-old Belarusian ruler has faced months of protest after being re-elected to the sixth term in a vote in August 2020 and then rejected as tampering by opponents. He responded with widespread crackdowns, arresting more than 35,000 people and beating thousands since protests began. Western nations sanction Belarusian officials involved in voting and crackdowns on protesters It corresponds by imposing.

Under Western pressure, Lukashenko relies on political and financial support from its main ally, Russia.

The two former Soviet Union countries have trade union agreements that envision close economic, political and military ties, and Moscow will strengthen Belarus’ Soviet economy with cheap energy supplies and loans. It is useful. However, the relationship was tense as Lukashenko abandoned control of valuable economic assets and eventually rebuked Moscow to abandon Belarus’ independence.

In the past, Belarusian leaders have often attempted war against Moscow against Western nations and have foreseen a reconciliation with the EU and the United States to draw more subsidies and concessions from Moscow.

Lukashenko’s crackdown on protests last fall made him an outcast in the Western world, and such tactics no longer work. Many observers warn that he is a good prey for the Kremlin.

Moscow provides Lukashenko with prompt political assistance in turning the plane, warning the EU not to take hasty action until the accident is properly investigated, and Lukashenko’s actions should be taken in the event of a bomb threat. Claimed to be in line with Lukashenko’s international protocol.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova accused the EU of calling on European airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace “totally irresponsible and threatening passenger safety.”

Some Western nations claimed that Moscow was involved in the re-destination of Ryanair flights and warned that the situation could be used to advance plans to incorporate Belarus.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabriellius Landsbergis accused Lukashenko of playing with Putin and trying to help Putin annex the country, saying, “We should also signal Russia that the annexation will not work with Europe.” Added.

Asked earlier this week if Russia played any role in turning the plane, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was no confirmed information on Russia’s involvement, saying, “Currently address speculation. I can’t. “

Russian officials angryly dismissed allegations of Moscow’s involvement in the case.

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Raf Casert contributed this report from Brussels.

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