- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 26, 2020

Russia is accusing the West of interfering in Belarus, which has been the scene of months of protests over the disputed reelection of Alexander Lukashenko, who has served as the country’s first and only president since the office was established almost three decades ago.

In a display of Moscow’s support for the regime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday held talks with Mr. Lukashenko and other top officials in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. He accused the United States and several European countries of “gross interference” in the country’s domestic affairs.

“The wise Belarussian people are able to sort themselves out without any outside prompting and intrusive offers of unsolicited mediation,” Mr. Lavrov said at a press conference, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Minsk every weekend since the Aug. 9, 2020, election, where the 66-year-old strongman claimed a sixth term in office. They contend Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the 38-year-old opposition candidate who took her jailed husband’s place in the race, was the legitimate victor.

Mr. Lukashenko has charged that Western countries have been behind the demonstrations and are conspiring to have him removed from office. Moscow has backed his claims.

The West is “using dirty methods of so-called color revolutions, including manipulating public opinion, supporting forces that are openly anti-government and promoting their radicalization,” Mr. Lavrov said, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Western leaders have refused to recognize Mr. Lukashenko’s reelection and are backing the opposition leader who fled to Lithuania out of fear for her safety. The European Union has imposed sanctions on a number of Belarusian officials, including Mr. Lukashenko, over the violent crackdown on demonstrators.

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