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Putin, Lukashenko confident Belarus’ problems to be resolved soon

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, taken on February 7, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (L) are seen walking during a meeting in the Black sea resort of Sochi. (By AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, have expressed confidence that the current political problems in Belarus will be resolved soon.

Putin and Lukashenko held a phone conversation on Friday, after the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Belarus over allegations that Minsk rigged the August presidential election in Lukashenko’s favor and cracked down on political dissent afterwards.

The Kremlin said the two leaders expressed confidence that “the problems that have arisen will soon be resolved.”

Earlier on Friday, the EU imposed sanctions against 40 Belarusian officials.

Belarus has been experiencing unrest since the August election. Lukashenko’s main political opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, rejected the official results of the vote and claimed there had been voter fraud. Western governments came out in her support, repeating the allegations of voter fraud without evidence.

The EU announced on September 15 that it did not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.

Lukashenko has rejected allegations that his government tampered with votes. Still, in an attempt to soothe the political tensions in the country, he has proposed the drafting of a new constitution less reliant on the head of state.

Soon after the unrest began, Lukashenko turned to Russia for help in case Belarus’ security was jeopardized. President Putin promised to offer security assistance if needed. Later, Moscow pledged to grant a loan of 1.5 billion dollars to Minsk.

In reaction to the EU sanctions, the Belarusian government on Friday announced that it had drawn up a list of European officials banned from entering Belarus, but it did not identify the individuals on the sanctions list.

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