Alexander Lukashenko criticizes Putin’s EU sanctions.

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The Belarusian president has complained to his Russian colleague about pressure from the West. At the meeting, Vladimir Putin promised to stand by Lukashenko.
In an official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko grumbled about growing pressure from the West. The EU sanctions agreed after the forced landing of a Ryanair plane would punish the state airline Belavia. However, it had nothing to do with the incident, said Lukashenko in the Black Sea town of Sochi at the start of the meeting with Putin.

Lukashenko said he had brought documents in his briefcase to prove attempts are being made to destabilize the situation in Belarus as it did in August last year. There were mass protests against him after he declared himself the winner of a falsified presidential election. Putin recognized Lukashenko as the winner, but not the EU.

On Sunday, Belarus forced a Ryanair plane to land in Minsk from the Greek capital Athens to Lithuanian Vilnius because of an alleged bomb threat. The dissident blogger Roman Protasewitsch and his Russian friend Sofia Sapega were arrested there. Protasevich admitted in a video the following day that he had organized mass protests in Minsk. Critics fear, however, that Protesevich was forced to confess through torture.

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