JRL NEWSWATCH: “Merkel and Putin discuss political crisis in Belarus” – Financial Times/ Guy Chazan, Henry Foy, James Shotter, Max Seddon

Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, file photo adapted from image at state.gov

“German leader’s talks with counterpart acknowledge Russia’s crucial role in deciding fate of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.”

“… Merkel called … Putin … Tuesday to discuss Belarus[,] … tacit acknowledgment of his pivotal role …. Moscow has propped up … Lukashenko financially and militarily throughout [Lukashenko’s] 26 years in power … the Kremlin Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.govhas remained on the sidelines since his disputed re-election nine days ago sparked mass protests demanding his resignation. … Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, regarded by … protesters as the [election’s] real winner … called on … Belarusian security apparatus [members] to switch sides. …. Merkel’s office said she … stressed … that the Belarusian government ‘ Angela Merkel file photo must refrain from violence against peaceful demonstrators … release political prisoners and enter a national dialogue with the opposition and [civil] society.’ … [According to the Kremlin,] Putin … ’emphasised the unacceptability of any outside attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of [Belarus], leading to a further escalation ….’ …”

Merkel’s German CDU/CSU party has declared that Belarus’ elections were clearly rigged and has called for them to be held again with international observers.

[photos are file photos from other occasions]

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