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Belarus Chief Lashes Out on the West, a Yr After Crushing Protests

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The U.S. Treasury Division on Monday added 27 people and 17 entities to the record of these underneath sanctions, which drain the nation’s export revenues. Final month, President Biden met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarus’s unlikely opposition chief, who was compelled to flee the nation shortly after claiming victory within the presidential election.

Over time, Mr. Lukashenko has carried out a balancing act along with his international coverage, enjoying the West off in opposition to Russia in an effort to protect his independence whereas extracting financial succor from each. However Mr. Putin’s help in the course of the protests — together with a veiled risk to intervene militarily if mandatory — was a crucial lifeline for Mr. Lukashenko. Western sanctions have been pushing Mr. Lukashenko even nearer to Mr. Putin.

However in the course of the news convention, billed as “the large dialog with the president,” Mr. Lukashenko portrayed Russia and Mr. Putin as extra depending on Belarus than vice versa. He asserted that Belarus, which borders Poland and the Baltic States, each NATO members, is Russia’s final bulwark in opposition to the West.

Following that line of argument, he insisted that the protests in opposition to him final yr have been brought on by Western nations searching for to assault “the guts of Russia” by fomenting unrest in Belarus.

“Along with the Russian president, we instantly realized what they wished from us,” he mentioned.

Right now, his protestations however, Mr. Lukashenko’s rule hangs on his private relationship with Mr. Putin, mentioned Katia Glod, an analyst with the Heart for European Coverage Evaluation. At any second, Mr. Putin can “make another choice,” concerning the Belarus chief, she mentioned, as an example “push him towards a referendum” on a brand new structure and resignation.

Whereas permitting in the course of the news convention that Belarus is in talks with Russia on one other $1 billion mortgage, Mr. Lukashenko insisted that his nation would stay unbiased and by no means merge with Russia.

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