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Russia sees no alternative to Lukashenko as Belarusian president

RIA Novosti

15:16 11/06/2010

MINSK, June 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia sees no alternative to Alexander Lukashenko as president of Belarus, the Russian ambassador to the former Soviet republic said on Friday.

"We can not see anyone else in that role," Alexander Surikov told a press-conference in Minsk.

"We support Lukashenko and refrain from making sharp remarks about Belarus and ask for similar treatment," he said.

Surikov also said that despite Russian support, Lukashenko is not a pro-Russian president.

"We understand that Alexander Lukashenko is the president of Belarus, a sovereign country, and therefore can be neither pro-Russian, nor pro-American, nor pro-Ukrainian," he expounded.

He added there was no truth to reports that Russian businessmen financed the Belarusian opposition movement Speak the Truth.

However, he said that Belarusian opposition leaders may have contacts with Russia's opposition.

Presidential polls in Belarus will take place no later than February 6, 2011.

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