JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Suddenly Sacks Russian Envoy to Belarus Amid Oil Row” – Reuters

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“… Putin … sacked Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich … amid a row over contaminated oil and a wider political discord between the ex-Soviet countries. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has generally been more closely aligned with Moscow than any other ex-Soviet leader, while the lack of tolerance for dissent at home has made him largely a pariah in the West. However, Minsk has shown increasing signs of seeking a thaw with the United States and [EU] since 2014, when Belarus did not recognise Russia’s annexation of [Crimea] …. Babich will move to another job and … be replaced by Dmitry Mezentsev … from the upper house of parliament. The wider political differences have been exacerbated by the contaminated Russian oil flows to European countries including Belarus.”

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