Alexander Lukashenko

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Lukashenko: Wagner Chief Is Back in Russia

He says no decision has been made on Wagner fighters moving to Belarus

(Newser) - Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin reportedly went to Belarus last week as part of the deal to end the mercenary group's mutiny against Russian military leadership—and while some observers expected him to end up falling out of a tall building in Minsk, he is now back in Russia,...

Lukashenko Says Prigozhin Can Stay for 'Some Time'

'Belarusians don't welcome war criminal Prigozhin,' opposition leader says

(Newser) - Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the private army of prison recruits and other mercenaries who have fought some of the deadliest battles in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, escaped prosecution for his abortive armed rebellion against the Kremlin and arrived Tuesday in Belarus. The exile of the 62-year-old owner of the Wagner...

Lukashenko Saved the Day. Wait, Lukashenko?

Belarus leader is making the most of his PR moment, but analysts are skeptical

(Newser) - Russia appeared to be very much on the brink of what Vladimir Putin called a "civil war" when an unexpected savior emerged to broker a deal : Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko . Or at least, that is the official version being told by state media in Belarus. The rest of the...

Lukashenko Boasts of What Russia Has Sent His Way

But it's unclear if the tactical nuclear weapons have truly arrived in Belarus

(Newser) - Some three weeks after Belarus signed a deal allowing Russia to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on its territory, the Belarusian president suggested some of those weapons are in place. Bloomberg reports delivery wasn't supposed to occur until construction of a nuclear storage facility in Belarus is completed around July...

Belarus Prez Promises Nuclear Weapons to 'Everyone'

He urges other countries to join Russia-Belarus union

(Newser) - Belarus has signed a deal to allow Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory but President Alexander Lukashenko apparently doesn't want other former members of the Soviet Union to feel left out. In an interview aired on a state-run Russian channel Sunday, the Belarusian leader promised that "...

Lukashenko Misses Major Events, Sparking Health Rumors

Belarus opposition leader says people should be 'well prepared for any scenario'

(Newser) - The authoritarian leader of Belarus has been absent from key events in recent days, sparking rumors that his health is failing. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko last appeared in public at events in Moscow and Minsk on May 9 to commemorate victory in World War II, reports Reuters . Observers said the...

Belarus Sentences Dissident to 8 Years in Penal Colony

Roman Protasevich was arrested in 2021 after an airliner he was on was forced down

(Newser) - A court in Minsk has sentenced an opposition activist whose flight was forced down by Belarus in 2021 so he could be taken into custody to eight years in a penal colony. State media said Wednesday that Roman Protasevich, 27, was charged with organizing mass riots, calling for sanctions against...

Russia to Put Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Belarus

Putin argues it's like the US agreements with European nations

(Newser) - President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. The allies struck an agreement after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko raised the possibility, Putin told Russian state television, per the BBC . Russia will maintain control of the weapons, he said, likening the move to the US...

Belarus Leader Says Ukraine 'Operation' Has 'Dragged On'

We 'are doing everything now so that there isn’t a war,' Lukashenko says

(Newser) - Belarus’ authoritarian leader defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said he was doing “everything” to stop the war, in a sit-down interview with the AP on Thursday. President Alexander Lukashenko also said that he didn’t think Russia’s “operation” in Ukraine would "drag on this...

People in Belarus Barely Know What It Means to Be Belarusian

A mural in a Minsk park gave them something to fight and die for

(Newser) - "The Battle for the Mural"—a New York Times Magazine piece by Sarah A. Topol—opens with a crime-thriller vibe: a man on a high-stakes mission, calculating every move through blind spots in the 40 security cameras he and his cohorts must dodge to reach the one place...

As Belarus' Ambassador Left Ukraine, a Biting Gift

A border guard tossed 30 pieces of silver at Igor Sokol

(Newser) - The indications that Belarus will join Russia in its war against Ukraine may be building. Belarus, which al-Jazeera calls "Russia’s oldest and staunchest post-Soviet ally," has removed all its diplomats from Ukraine in the past few days. As Belarusian Ambassador Igor Sokol passed through a border checkpoint,...

Belarus Ruler Threatens to Turn Off Heat in Europe

Natural gas pipeline runs through country from Russia

(Newser) - Alexander Lukashenko stepped up tensions with Western nations on Thursday by saying he'd reach for the gas shutoff in the event more sanctions are imposed on Belarus. "We are heating Europe," Lukashenko said, the Washington Post reports. "They still threaten us that they will close the...

Fleeing the Games, Sprinter Made a Last-Minute Switch

Wary of security, Belarus sprinter changed flight plans from Warsaw to Vienna at last minute

(Newser) - Change of travel plans for Krystsina Tsimanouskaya—she's headed to Vienna instead of Warsaw, at least initially. The Washington Post reports on the continuing drama swirling around the 24-year-old Olympic sprinter, who boarded a plane bound for Poland on Wednesday, less than three days after Belarus authorities took her...

Belarusian Sprinter Speaks Out
Belarusian Sprinter Speaks Out
the rundown

Belarusian Sprinter Speaks Out

'I don’t think I can ever go back to Belarus,' says Krystsina Tsimanouskaya

(Newser) - The Belarus sprinter who is refusing to go home has given her first interviews since the Olympic controversy erupted. In them, 24-year-old Krystsina Tsimanouskaya makes clear that she hopes to run in future Olympics, though not for her native country. Coverage:
  • “I don’t think I can ever go

Opposition Objects to Journalist's Teary TV Appearance

Foes of Belarus government say confessional video was made under duress

(Newser) - Belarus aired an interview with detained journalist Raman Pratasevich on state TV on Thursday, a video that included tears and a confession to opposing the government. Regime opponents criticized the video as being made under duress, Reuters reports. "His parents believe he was tortured. This is not Raman I...

Belarus Activist Hospitalized After Stabbing Himself in Court

Stsiapan Latypau reportedly was told his family would be prosecuted unless he confessed

(Newser) - A Belarus activist has been hospitalized after stabbing himself in the neck with a pen during a court hearing in Minsk, a rights group said. Stsiapan Latypau underwent surgery and is in satisfactory condition, the BBC reports. He's charged with being behind opposition social media, which he denies. The...

Protests Spread as US Decides on Sanctions

White House says it's holding the Belarus government accountable after hijacking

(Newser) - Demonstrations around the world opposed the Belarus government on Saturday—sparked by the hijacking of an airliner last week—a day after the Biden administration said it's imposing economic sanctions. A White House spokeswoman said the US will restore sanctions next week against nine state-owned operations in Belarus that...

Russian Backs Belarus By Blocking European Flights
Russia Blocks European Flights

Russia Blocks European Flights

EU meeting to consider sanctions after Ryanair hijacking

(Newser) - Russia has expressed its support for Belarus by refusing to let at least two European airlines' flights land in Moscow. Austrian Airlines and Air France announced the cancellations, saying permission from Russia was denied, per CNN ; Russia had no comment. Both airlines wanted to change the routes to avoid crossing...

Father of Seized Journalist Fears Torture

Belarus airs video clip of Raman Pratasevich

(Newser) - The journalist at the center of an international controversy surfaced in a video clip that aired on state TV channels in Belarus on Monday, reports AFP . Raman Pratasevich speaks quickly in the video that the BBC says "appears to have been recorded under duress." The 26-year-old was seized...

Belarus 'Hijacking' Poses a Big Test for Biden
On Diverted Jet, a Sense
of 'Panic' Among Passengers
the rundown

On Diverted Jet, a Sense of 'Panic' Among Passengers

Belarus' decision to force down a passenger plane is widely condemned

(Newser) - Ryanair calls it "state-sponsored piracy," per CNBC . The US secretary of state calls it "shocking," and the president of the EU Commission says it amounts to a "hijacking," reports the AP . Those were some of the reactions percolating Monday to the diversion of a...

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