Putin urges Belarus authorities, opposition to find way out of crisis
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 27 August 2020 4:06 PM
Russia's President Vladimir Putin urges Belarus' officials and opposition to resolve their differences towards ending the political turmoil that has followed the ex-Soviet republic's elections.
"The parties to this process have enough common sense to find a way out without resorting to extremes," Putin said in an interview aired on state television on Thursday, AFP reported.
Mass street protests have followed Belarus' August 9 elections, in which President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory, thus winning a sixth term in office.
The European Union has rejected the results and threatened to expand a planned blacklist of Belarus officials.
The Russian head of state acknowledged that Belarus was suffering from some problems "otherwise people wouldn't take to the streets," but hoped that the standing issues be resolved peacefully.
Russia puts police force on alert
Putin, meanwhile, warned the EU against intervening in Belarus' internal affairs and said Moscow was ready to "fulfill its obligations" under a military alliance of former Soviet countries.
"We have of course certain obligations towards Belarus," he was cited by Russia's Interfax news agency as saying.
Putin said he had agreed to a request from his Belarusian counterpart for creation of a reserve group of law enforcement officers who could be sent to Belarus to help out its security forces if need be.
"I told him Russia would fulfill all its obligations. Alexander Grigoryevich [Lukashenko] asked me to create a reserve police force and I have done that," Putin said.
The Russian president, however, reminded that the police force "would not be used unless the situation got out of control."
Poland, which is a member of the Western military alliance of NATO and hosts United States troops and missile batteries, reacted strongly to Putin's announcement, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki claiming that Moscow harbored "plans" for "military intervention" in Belarus.
Lukashenko has hit out at the US and allied European nations, saying they have been sponsoring violent protests by opposition supporters across the country since his electoral victory.
He has also ordered the army to take "stringent measures" against NATO troops, who are "seriously stirring" near the country's borders.
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