03:04 GMT27 October 2020
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    Earlier in the day, Canada and Ireland joined other countries to reject the results of the presidential election in Belarus, which gave incumbent leader Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory with more than 80% of the vote. Opposition supporters in Belarus insist that the election was rigged.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have discussed the situation in Belarus over the phone, the press service of the German cabinet said on Tuesday.

    "The situation in Belarus following the presidential election on August 9 was discussed. The chancellor stressed that the Belarusian government should refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters, immediately release political prisoners and begin a nationwide dialogue with opposition and society to overcome the crisis," the statement read.

    On Monday, Belarusian President Lukashenko said that new elections will be held in the country only after a new constitution is adopted following a referendum. 

    Mass protests have been taking place in Belarus for over a week now after the results of the August 9 presidential election were announced. According to official results, Lukashenko won over 80 percent of the vote, while his major rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, had a bit more than 10%. The Belarusian opposition refused to recognize the results, and people took to the streets demanding a new election.

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    • 23:01

      Belarus Ex-Candidate Tsepkalo Says Tikhanovskaya Should Become Transitional President

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Belarusian ex-presidential contender Valery Tsepkalo, who has been put on a wanted list and fled the country, told Sputnik that ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya should be given the role of transitional president, and new elections should be held in Belarus in five to six months.

      "She [Tikhanovskaya] is the transitional president. She becomes the head of state. New elections are scheduled - in five to six months in accordance with the Constitution," Tsepkalo said when asked how the political crisis in Belarus should be resolved.

      He said Tikhanovskaya's victory "is completely obvious" and "on the basis of this obviousness, she should be the only legitimate head of state at the moment."

    • 17:38

      People of Belarus Need to Resolve Own Problems Without Any Foreign Interference, Russian Envoy to UN Says at UNSC Meeting

      UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Russia emphasized during the closed UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Tuesday that only the Belarusian people should resolve their country’s problems without any foreign interference, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said in a statement.

      "[Estonia and the United States] insisted on discussing situation in Belarus in AOB [Any Other Business] of UNSC consultations today," Polyanskiy said via Twitter. "While indicating that it’s an internal issue of this country and not a matter to be discussed in Security Council, Russia stressed that only Belarusians themselves should resolve the problems of their country without any foreign interference and meddling."

    • 17:37

      Belarus' Opposition Council Sees Russia as Mediator in Talks With Authorities

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Belarusian opposition's coordination council believes that the European Union and Russia should be mediators in its negotiations with the country’s authorities, Pavel Latushka, a member of the council, said on Tuesday.

      "The role of our neighbors, Russia and the European Union, is essential here ... We are interested in these esteemed partners expressing their advice and mediation between the society, which will, to some extent, represent the coordination council, and the authorities," Latushka, who is the former director of the Janka Kupala National Theater, said at a press conference.

      According to the opposition figure, this is in the interests of both Moscow and Brussels.

      Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who ran for the Belarusian presidency against incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, and who is now in Lithuania, initiated the creation of the coordination council last week to ensure the transfer of power, stressing that she is ready for dialogue. Tikhanovskaya's ally, Olga Kovalkova, has said that the body would consist of 70 people, including Svetlana Alexievich, the winner of the 2015 Nobel prize for literature. Lukashenko has, in turn, said that the Belarusian opposition created this council to "lull" the security forces and seize power.

      Belarus plunged into protests after the election results showed Lukashenko win 80.1 percent of the vote, and Tikhanovskaya challenged the outcome. During the first days of the unrest, police used force against protesters, which resulted in mass detentions and injuries on both sides. Security forces have since softened the response and started releasing those detained en masse. There have been also two fatalities in the unrest.

    • 16:12

      Belarusian Opposition Figures Deny Lukashenko Offered Them Vote Recount

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Politicians who ran in the Belarusian presidential election, which has sparked mass protests, said on Tuesday that the country's authorities had not offered to recount the ballots cast.

      President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday that he had offered to the opposition that the votes be recounted, but the politicians demanded a new election instead. Opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova told Sputnik later the same day that she had not heard about such an offer. On Tuesday, the rest of the candidates also refuted Lukashenko's statement.

      "No," Anna Kanopatskaya, one of the presidential contenders, said when asked if she was approached by the Belarusian authorities with a proposal to recount the votes.

      The candidate added that the only way out of the current situation in the country was to hold new elections.

      Kanopatskaya also recalled that the Belarusian Central Election Commission (CEC) had refused to accept her complaint about the election results, and said she planned to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.

      Meanwhile, according to Belarusian politician Sergey Cherechen, who also ran in the election, offering a vote recount was not in Lukashenko's fashion.

      "I can say for sure that no one has contacted us," Cherechen said.

      The politician added that he and his supporters had addressed a number of state institutions to engage in dialogue with the authorities, however, to no result.

      Opposition politician Andrey Dmitriev, in turn, said that the demand for the recount of votes came from the opposition and not Lukashenko himself.

      "The reality is that when we were filing a complaint with the CEC, which was reviewed last Friday, we proposed the recount. The CEC refused to accept it, having recognized the election results, according to which Lukashenko allegedly received 80 percent of the vote," Dmitriev said.

      Protests in Belarus are on their ninth day now. People took to the streets in Minsk and other cities after the government claimed that Lukashenko won the presidential election with over 80 percent of the vote, while the key opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, won less than 10 percent.

    • 15:25

      Lukashenko on Opposition's Calls for Belarus to Join EU, NATO: No One Waiting for Us There

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - No one is waiting for Belarus or Ukraine in the European Union and NATO, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday at a meeting with members of the country's Security Council.

      Lukashenko noted that the opposition's plans include an application for membership in the European Union and NATO. He pointed out that in Ukraine "democracy was established already, probably, about 10 years ago," but no one accepted them either in NATO or in the EU.

      "Moreover, no one is waiting for anyone there. For them, and even more so for us. We will simply destroy our country by this," he said.

      Lukashenko drew attention to the recent emergence of a theory about the Three Seas Initiative in the US media.

      "The Baltic, Black, Adriatic seas. Russia is not there, Serbia is not there, Belarus is there. We have already been included there," he said.

      "I stress once again: in the near future, we will analyze these issues and tell the people about the consequences of such actions. But today you see how coordinated is what they are trying to throw at us inside the country. Re-elections, chaos and so on, strikes at enterprises. civil servants, military, police, media. We all see this, we do not calm down," he concluded.

    • 14:59

      UN Security Council Will Hold Talks on Belarus Today

      UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United Nations Security Council will hold a closed meeting later on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Belarus, a diplomatic source at the United Nations said.

      “The meeting will be held today under AOB [Any Other Business] after the discussions on Yemen,” the source said.

      At 10:00 a.m. EDT, the UN Security Council gathered for closed consultations on the situation in Yemen.

      Estonia and the United States had earlier in the day requested such a meeting, another diplomatic source said.

    • 14:50

      Estonia, US Request to Discuss Belarus at UN Security Council Meeting Later on Tuesday

    • 14:49

      Estonian Gov't Refuses to Recognize Results of Belarus' Presidential Election

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Estonia has not recognized the presidential election in Belarus due to perceived falsification of results that saw incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko re-elected for a sixth consecutive term, the Estonian government said in a statement on Tuesday.

      "Estonia does not recognise the results of the presidential elections in Belarus on 9 August, which were neither free nor fair. Estonia is of the opinion that Alexander Lukashenko has lost his mandate due to widespread falsification of election results," the statement read.

      The Estonian government believes that the European Union should impose targeted sanctions against the Belarusian officials responsible for the alleged violence and election fraud.

      Tallinn's stance is that Belarus should now hold a "new, free, and democratic" vote. In this regard, the Estonian government called on Brussels to cooperate with international organizations, such as the UN Security Council and the Council of Europe, with an emphasis on "preventing a possible escalation of violence and finding a peaceful political solution that would lead to new elections."

      According to the statement, the Estonian government will contribute 100,000 euros ($119,000) in support of the Belarusian civil society and free press.

      Protests in Belarus are in their ninth day now. People took to the streets in Minsk and other cities after the government claimed that Lukashenko won the presidential election with over 80 percent of the vote while the key opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, won less than 10 percent.

      During the first several days, police and security officers used force to disperse the protesters. The documented police crackdown on protesters included use of tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and rubber bullets as well as physical and psychological assault of arrested protesters and journalists.

      Last week, the governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have offered mediation services between Belarus' government and civil society.

    • 14:45

      Belarus Suffered No Economic Losses Amid Recent Protests, Prime Minister Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Belarus has not experienced any economic losses amid recent rallies, Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said Tuesday.

      "If some company stops work completely, this damage can be measured, the amount of the products that were not delivered, not manufactured. But this is not a problem for now and there are no grounds to claim that the national economy suffered any losses or damages," the prime minister said.

    • 14:43

      NATO Chief Calls on Belarus to Respect Fundamental Human Rights Amid Political Unrest

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday during a telephone conversation with Polish President Andrzej Duda that Belarus must respect fundamental human rights amid nationwide protests against the presidential election result.

      The military bloc's press service said in a statement following the talks that Duda had agreed with the NATO chief's stance on the situation in Belarus and that Minsk should not only respect fundamental human rights but also freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest.

      "All Allies support a sovereign and independent Belarus," the statement read.

    • 14:41

      Lukashenko, Putin Hold Another Phone Conversation

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko of recent conversations with the French leader Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belta news agency reported Tuesday.

      Earlier in the day, Putin spoke with Merkel and Macron. Belarus was discussed in both conversations.

      This marks the third phone conversation of Putin and Lukashenko since Saturday.

    • 14:19

      Belarusian Interior Ministry Says Shares Responsibility for Recent Negative Events

    • 14:02

      Lukashenko Warns Members of Opposition Coordination Council That Minsk May Take 'Adequate' Steps

    • 13:47

      Trump Says US Will Talk With Russia About Situation in Belarus

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would speak with Russia about the situation in Belarus at the appropriate time.

      “You have to understand me, I love seeing democracy. Democracy is a very important word. It doesn’t seem like it’s too much democracy there in Belarus,” Trump said. “We are speaking to lots of people and we’ll speaking at the appropriate time to Russia, and we’ll speaking to other people that are involved. But it’s certainly a very big match, and it seems to be a very peaceful march, unlike so-called peaceful protests that we have with the burned down stores.”

    • 13:46

      Putin Shares Concerns of Foreign Meddling in Belarus With EU's Michel

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin shared his concerns about foreign states attempting to pressure Minsk with the head of the European Council Charles Michel, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

      "The situation in Belarus was discussed as the EU summit [on the matter] is about to take place. Russia expressed concern over attempts of several countries to put pressure on the leadership of Belarus and destabilize the domestic politics there. Interest in preventing confrontation was expressed," the Kremlin said.

    • 13:03

      Lavrov, Maas Hold Phone Talks on Belarus

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, held phone talks on Belarus and expressed hope that the situation in the riots-shaken country would soon improve, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

      The ministry stressed that the talks were held upon Berlin's initiative.

      "In continuation of the phone conversation between Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which was held earlier in the day, the ministers discussed the recent events in Belarus in the context of the presidential election. They expressed hope for the quickest normalization. The Russian side pointed to the unacceptability of any external interference into domestic political processes, and drew the attention of Germany, which currently chairs the European Union, to the foreign attempts to destabilize the situation in this brotherly country," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    • 12:36

      All Four Opposition Presidential Candidates in Belarus Say Lukashenko Never Offered Vote Recount

    • 12:27

      European Council President Michel Has Discussed Belarus With Putin

    • 12:24

      Belarus Health Minister Refutes Reports About Police Using Ambulance Vehicles for Disguise

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Belarusian Acting Health Minister Vladimir Karanik refuted on Tuesday reports that ambulance vehicles had been used to transport law enforcement officers to protest locations, adding that the vehicles that were mistaken for ambulances probably belonged to the security forces' medical service.

      Numerous reports appeared on social networks alleging that Belarus police had been using ambulance vehicles to move unimpeded across Minsk, while any other traffic was blocked by protesters.

      "None of our ambulances were used by the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to transport them to places where detention were made ... The vehicles of the medical service of the security forces have similar coloring, and they transport military doctors who are of course in military uniform. They provided medical assistance to their injured colleagues in the very epicenter of protests and this fact could have given birth to these rumors," Karanik said in an open letter published by the tut.by portal.

      The minister also called on those who spread such rumors to present evidence.

      "Because even the assumption that there may be security agents in an ambulance may provoke the aggression of protesters and jeopardize the safety of our employees. This is unacceptable. I hope that specific facts will be presented or this issue will be finally removed from the agenda," Karanik added.

      According to Karanik, the Health Ministry actively collaborated with the Interior Ministry in order to provide "human conditions" for people who were detained during the protests.

      The minister also called on medical employees who joined the anti-government protests to return to work for the benefit of the people.

      Belarus plunged into protests after the election results showed incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko win over 80 percent of the vote, and opposition contender Svetlana Tikhanovskaya challenged the outcome. The first days of unrest saw a tough confrontation between protesters and law enforcement officers, resulting in mass detentions and injuries on both sides. The security forces have since softened the response and started releasing those detained en masse. Rallies and strikes continue.

    • 12:24

      Defence Minister Says Poland Can Only Offer Financial Assistance to Belarusian Opposition

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Warsaw can only offer financial assistance to the Belarusian opposition, as the latter seeks to unseat President Alexander Lukashenko, Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz told Polish Television on Tuesday.

      "Certainly, Poland, as an immediate neighbor and an EU member, has limited capabilities [to influence the situation in Belarus]. Apart from supporting the democratic opposition, apart from the support, including the one financial as well as support when it comes to changes [in the country], we can only observe from the outside. Because all other actions will trigger retortions from the other side," Skurkiewicz said.

      According to the official, Poland wants Lukashenko to leave peacefully.

      "We cannot allow bloodshed to happen in Belarus. It must be the changes that will be peaceful and lead to Lukashenko simply leaving and transferring power of the president of Belarus," the deputy minister added.

      Belarus plunged into protests after the August 9 election results showed the incumbent president win 80.1 percent of the vote, and opposition contender Svetlana Tikhanovskaya challenged the outcome. During the first days of the unrest, police used force against protesters, which resulted in mass detentions and injuries on both sides. The security forces have since softened the response and started releasing those detained en masse, but this has so far not helped to appease the demonstrators.

    • 11:46

      Putin, Macron Hold Phone Talks, Agree on Importance for Belarus to Overcome Crisis Quickly

    • 11:18

      EU Must Give Belarus Alternative to Ties With Russia, Polish Diplomat Says

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - The European Union must provide Belarus with an alternative to its perennial partnership with Russia, Pawel Jablonski, the Polish undersecretary of state for economic and development cooperation, said on Tuesday.

      In a commentary published by Polish news agency PAP, Jablonski said that the EU’s reaction to the developments in Belarus should go beyond sanctions and a resolution. The diplomat said that Brussels should make Minsk an offer of cooperation to win over both the opposition and embattled President Alexander Lukashenko.

      "A concrete proposal for such cooperation with Europe should appear, because this is the only way to induce the Belarusians and, possibly, Alexander Lukashenko himself, to sit down at the table and start talking with the people. So that both the opposition and he, too, can see that for Belarus there is an alternative to cooperating with Russia," Jablonski emphasized.

      According to a statement from the German government, EU leaders will hold a video conference regarding Belarus on Wednesday. It will follow up on the EU foreign ministers' August 14 talks that rejected Belarus’ election results and called for sanctions on its officials.

      Belarus plunged into protests after the August 9 presidential election results showed incumbent Lukashenko win over 80 percent of the vote to claim a sixth term as president. The opposition, coalesced around unlikely contender Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, disputed the result and has been taking to the streets daily since.

      The first days of unrest saw a tough confrontation between protesters and law enforcement officers, resulting in mass detentions and injuries on both sides. Security forces have since softened the response and started releasing those detained en masse, but this has so far not helped to appease the demonstrators.

      Belarus’ bond with Russia is perhaps the strongest among all post-Soviet states, even sharing a unity state treaty. Belarus’ robust manufacturing and agricultural sectors are largely geared towards exports to Russia.

    • 10:25

      Belarusian Opposition Completing Work on 70-Strong Body for Power Change

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Belarusian opposition has almost completed creating a 70-member coordination council to ensure the transfer of power in the country, ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s team said on Tuesday.

      Tikhanovskaya, who fled for Lithuania just after the election, initiated the creation of the body last week.

      "It will consist of 70 people. I think that today or tomorrow its formation will be completed, and we will organize the first meeting of this council," her ally, Olga Kovalkova, told Echo of Moscow radio.

      Kovalkova earlier posted on Facebook a list of 35 members of the coordination council, including Svetlana Alexievich, the winner of the 2015 Nobel prize for literature.

      Belarus plunged into protests after the election results showed incumbent Alexander Lukashenko win 80.1 percent of the vote, and opposition contender Tikhanovskaya challenged the outcome. During the first days of the unrest, police used force against protesters, which resulted in mass detentions and injuries on both sides. Security forces have since softened the response and started releasing those detained en masse. There have been also two fatalities in the unrest.

    • 10:10

      Belarus' Acting Foreign Minister Holds Talks With Counterparts From Sweden, Finland

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Belarus' acting Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has held phone conversations with his counterparts from Finland and Sweden on the situation in his country, swept by protests since the day of the presidential election, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

      According to the ministry, Makei held talks with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto earlier in the day.

      "They exchanged opinions on the situation developing in Belarus after the presidential election and on the prospects of further cooperation. They reaffirmed mutual desire to preserve channels of communication, to continue working contacts and to maintain dialogue," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement

      Apart from that, Makei held a conversation with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, also on Tuesday. According to the ministry, they focused on "the post-election situation in Belarus" and "prospects of Belarus' cooperation with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe."

    • 10:00

      Putin, Merkel Hope Situation in Belarus Will Normalize Soon

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope, in their phone conversation, that the situation in Belarus, which is now engulfed in protests over the presidential election, would normalize soon, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

      "They thoroughly discussed the situation that emerged in Belarus after the presidential election. The Russian side stressed that any attempt of foreign interference in the republic's domestic affairs is unacceptable, as it could lead to further escalation of the crisis. They expressed hope for a quick normalization," the Kremlin said in a statement.

    • 09:56

      EU Nations' Ambassadors to Meet on Tuesday Ahead of Summit on Belarus

      BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - EU nations’ permanent representatives to the bloc will meet later on Tuesday as part of preparations for a summit on Belarus, according to an announcement made by Germany.

      The EU leaders will hold a video conference on Belarus on Wednesday. It will follow up on EU foreign ministers' August 14 talks that rejected Belarus’ election results and called for sanctions on its officials.

      "EU Ambassadors are meeting today from 5:30 pm [15:30 GMT] to prepare the special #EUCO videoconference on the situation in #Belarus," Germany said on the Twitter page of its EU Council’s presidency.

      Belarus plunged into protests after the election results showed incumbent Alexander Lukashenko win over 80 percent of the vote, and opposition contender Svetlana Tikhanovskaya challenged the outcome. The first days of unrest saw a tough confrontation between protesters and law enforcement officers, resulting in mass detentions and injuries on both sides. Security forces have since softened the response and started releasing those detained en masse. Rallies and strikes still continue.

    • 09:54

      Belarusian Opposition Politician Dmitriev in Talks With EU, US Diplomats

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Belarusian opposition politician Andrey Dmitriev, who ran for the presidency, said on Tuesday that he had held talks with US and EU diplomats, and also pointed to the need confirm commitment to Belarus' independence.

      "Yesterday, I held a meeting with US charge d'affaires ad interim in Belarus, and today I met with the head of the EU mission. Tomorrow, EU leaders will hold talks on Belarus," Dmitriev wrote on his Telegram channel.

      The politician also expressed the belief it was "necessary to issue a declaration on the commitment to and support for Belarus independence."

    • 09:51

      Belarus's Ambassador to Slovakia Submits His Resignation Amid Protests

      People take part in a protest against the presidential election results demanding the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and the release of political prisoners, in Minsk, Belarus August 16, 2020.

      Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Resigns After Supporting Protesters

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Igor Leschenya has tendered his resignation after supporting the protesters in his country.
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