Lukashenko and Putin speak on phone about protests in Belarus
As protesters fill the streets in cities across Belarus for the seventh straight day, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko — imperiled as never before — publicly announced that he needed to hold talks with Vladimir Putin about the unrest in Belarus. An hour or so later, a telephone call between the two presidents took place, reported the news outlet Belta, citing Lukashenko’s press service.
“I need to contact Putin, Russia’s president, so I can talk to him because the threat now isn’t to Belarus alone. [...] Defending Belarus today is nothing less than defending our entire space — the Union State and its example to others. If Belarusians can’t hold the line, this wave will roll there [to Russia], too,” Lukashenko warned on Saturday, August 15.
The Belarusian president insists that “color revolution manuals” guide the demonstrations that have brought Belarus to a standstill, and he says there’s evidence of foreign interference. “Don’t bother trying to lull us to sleep with peaceful assemblies. We see what’s going on, deep down,” Lukashenko said.
Update: The Kremlin later released a summary of the phone call, saying that the two leaders expressed confidence that the situation in Belarus will be resolved soon. “The most important thing is that the destructive forces striving to harm our two nations’ mutually beneficial cooperation don’t exploit these problems,” says the Kremlin’s statement.
Vladimir Putin has not commented publicly about the protests in Belarus, though he is one of the few world leaders to have congratulated Lukashenko on his declared re-election.