JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko rhetoric shows fallout between Minsk and Moscow”- Financial Times/ Max Seddon, James Shotter

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Arrest of 33 Russians comes as Belarusian president’s strategy of playing Russia and the west off each other founders.”

“… Belarus authorities arrested the [Russian] men [checking into a sanatorium outside Minsk as would-be tourists] and another Russian, claiming they were mercenaries plotting to ‘destabilise the situation’ ahead of Sunday’s [historically contentious] elections [in Belarus] …. [The arrests and surrounding circumstances are] a bellwether for Belarus’s deteriorating relationship with Russia, its longtime patron. … Lukashenko’s allegations come as the opposition enjoys a surge of support due to [his] cavalier response to the coronavirus pandemic, which he dismissed as a ‘psychosis’ despite recently contracting the disease himself. … [Meanwhile,] Ukraine has requested the extradition of 28 of the men on charges of fighting for Kremlin-controlled separatists in [Ukraine’s] east. …”

Click here for: Lukashenko rhetoric shows fallout between Minsk and Moscow; Arrest of 33 Russians comes as Belarusian president’s strategy of playing Russia and the west off each other founders”- Financial Times/ Max Seddon, James Shotter

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