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Iran Press TV

Russia says outside forces attempt to destabilize Belarus after post-election protests

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 13 August 2020 5:23 PM

Russia says outside forces are clearly attempting to destabilize neighboring Belarus, which has witnessed violent protests in the past few days after President Alexander Lukashenko won the election.

"Clear attempts at outside interference are observed, aimed at causing a split in society and destabilizing the situation," Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press conference on Thursday, adding the Kremlin is following the situation closely.

Violent clashes erupted between police and protesters when supporters of rival candidates poured into the streets of the capital Minsk Monday night, shortly after official results showed the incumbent president had won a sixth consecutive term, taking over 80 percent of the vote.

"We note unprecedented pressure that is being exerted by individual foreign partners on the Belarusian authorities," Zakharova added.

The European Union and the United States have long accused Lukashenko of human rights violations because of his close ties with Russia.

The EU has used those allegations to impose sanctions on the now-65-year-old but removed them in 2016.

Now, Brussels and Washington have started using post-election violence and Minsk's measures to contain riots as a pretext to bring fresh accusations against the country.

The EU said it will meet on Friday to weigh new sanctions against Belarus. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Belarusians should be given "the freedoms that they are demanding."

Germany, in particular, has called on the bloc to put pressure on Lukashenko.

On Thursday, authorities in Belarus began releasing some of the people detained for causing mayhem and inflicting damage to state buildings and public property.

Lukashenko has already said a foreign-backed plot aims to destabilize the country but has dismissed allegations that the demonstrators are criminals and unemployed.

Minsk has also strongly rejected claims that the recent presidential elections were "rigged."

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