Putin asks Merkel not to interfere in the situation in Belarus
On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin the crisis in Belarus, which has been hit by mass protests for more than a week, in which two people were killed and hundreds were tortured in the detention center.
During a telephone conversation with Putin, Merkel said that it was necessary to stop violence against Belarusian citizens who reject the results of the presidential elections, after the Central Election Committee awarded the victory to Alexander Lukashenko for the sixth time in a row.
Merkel “stressed that the Belarusian government should refrain from using violence against peaceful demonstrators, immediately release political prisoners and initiate a national dialogue involving the opposition and society to overcome the crisis,” the German government’s press service said.
Putin responded by saying that any attempts to interfere from outside in the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus are “unacceptable”.
At the same time, Putin “expressed hope for an early normalization of the situation.”
On Friday, August 14, the EU foreign ministers held an emergency meeting on Belarus, where they discussed the possibility of resuming sanctions, but no decision was taken. After Lukashenko stopped the actions of riot police, Brussels gave him two more weeks to resolve the situation: the next meeting on the Belarusian crisis will take place on August 27.
Whether sanctions against representatives of the Belarusian leadership of the country will be extended depends on the authorities of the republic, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.
Berlin demands that Lukashenko stop violence against peaceful demonstrators, “immediately and unconditionally” release prisoners and start a “national dialogue” between the government, the opposition and society, he said.
According to Seibert, the German government had been in contact with the Belarusian opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya some time ago. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has communicated with many European partners about the situation in Belarus, and in the near future plans to talk with Vladimir Putin.
The day before, the five leading parties of the European Parliament adopted a joint statement in which they called the elections held in Belarus “neither free, nor fair”, and the acts of violence and torture of participants of mass actions by the security forces – “appalling”.
“We therefore do not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as the re-elected President of Belarus and consider him a persona non grata in the European Union. We join the Belarusian people in their demand for new and free elections, under the supervision of independent observers,” the statement reads.
Lukashenko is responsible for the actions of the security forces, intimidation of journalists, blocking of the Internet and suppression of the media in order to hide information about what is happening in the country, the MEPs remind, adding that the EU authorities should resist possible attempts of Russia to intervene directly or indirectly in the situation.