Belarus President Warns He May Invite Russian Troops

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The autocratic president of Belarus says he is ready to invite Russian troops into his nation if required for the of both Belarus and . Alexander Lukashenko’s comments were due to raise tensions with the international community.

Lukashenko warned he would not hesitate to use Russian troops amid ongoing against his leadership. He claims Western powers back the rallies.

However, Lukashenko made clear there was no need for Russian forces now.

Russia and Belarus have maintained close and economic ties. The military cooperation between the two neighbors comes even as Western countries have imposed on Belarus after Lukashenko cracked down on mass dissent.

The demonstrations broke out after a contested presidential election last year that Lukashenko claims he won.

In video footage monitored by ,
Lukashenko said Belarus had coped with the unrest without any external forces and could muster around half a million security personnel fast. He made clear that “there is absolutely no need for Russian troops today. ”

ADDRESSING UNREST

However, the president explained that even after the unrest in August last year following the disputed vote, he did not send troops from Russia, , or other countries. “We dealt with this problem ourselves. ”

But Lukashenko also said in published comments, “If it is not enough, Russian armed forces will be introduced.” He added: “If it is necessary, we will not hesitate.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Belarus had made no approach requesting troops. However, he made clear that Minsk would need to submit a formal request to Moscow before any Russian troops could be deployed.

But the suggestion by Lukashenko that he considers Russian military support was due to increase anxiety among his political opponents and in Western countries.

Following last year’s disputed election, Belarus detained thousands of protesters. At times, law enforcement could be seen beating protesters. And rights groups claim hundreds were abused or tortured in detention.

Minsk has denied the allegations. However, nearly all prominent opposition figures are now in jail or exile.

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