President Alexander Lukashenko is facing the biggest wave of protest – “March for Freedom” – calling for him to step down since he came to power in 1994. At least two demonstrators have been killed and thousands imprisoned since Lukashenko’s allegedly rigged re-election which took place last week.
President Lukashenko stated in a defiant speech that NATO troops are massing near Belarus’ border and are jeopardizing Belarus’ independence denouncing a revolution orchestrated from abroad. He also warned that the protest threatens the stability of Russia. The Kremlin said it was ready to provide security assistance to Alexander Lukashenko if necessary, since Belarus hosts pipelines carrying Russian energy exports to the West and is also a buffer zone against NATO.
In Lithuania, the presidential candidate of Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has expressed her willingness to negotiate with the authorities on the departure of Lukashenko. She has simultaneously set up a council to work towards a transfer of power. The EU is thinking about imposing new sanctions on Belarus in relation to the violent crackdown