Belarus accuses Russia of poll meddling, seeks talks with Putin
MINSK (BELARUS) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Russian and Polish forces on Thursday of meddling in his country’s presidential election campaign and trying to discredit him.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years and allowed little dissent, said he would discuss the alleged meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Lukashenko, 65, faces the strongest challenge in years to retain power in the Aug. 9 election as frustration mounts over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and grievances grow over the economy and human rights.
While appointing new envoys, Lukashenko said external forces stood behind his opponents and were disseminating information discrediting him and his family members.
“It’s clear that the puppeteers are behind them. They are on the one side and the other side. They live in Poland and are supplied from Russia,” he said. “We will talk about this with President Putin in the near future at a meeting.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied Lukashenko’s allegations.
“Russia has never, is not and does not intend to interfere in election processes, particularly in the ones of our Belarusian ally,” he told reporters.
Relations between Belarus and traditional ally Russia have been strained in recent months as Moscow reduced subsidies that have propped up Lukashenko. But Lukashenko’s crackdown on opponents is likely to hinder his efforts to mend fences with the West.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field