Lukashenko and Putin: negotiations amid protests

This is the first meeting of the two presidents after the elections in Belarus
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Sochi on Monday to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and enlist his support amid ongoing protests in the country. This is the first meeting of the two leaders after the elections in Belarus.
Belarusian state media showed Lukashenko getting off his plane at the Black Sea resort, where the Russian president often receives dignitaries. Russian news agencies reported that negotiations began shortly thereafter..
On Sunday, at least 100,000 people took to the streets of Minsk. This is one of the largest protests since the start of the protests. Police say 774 people were detained during Sunday demonstrations.

Russian news agency «Interfax» reported that security forces fired into the air to keep protesters away from areas where the Belarusian leadership lives.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Monday to investigate reports of torture during protests against Lukashenka’s re-election..

Lukashenko and Putin: negotiations amid protests

Speaking at a meeting of the Human Rights Council, Bachelet said: «Given their scale and number, all reports of torture and other forms of ill-treatment by security forces must be documented and investigated with a view to bringing those responsible to justice.».
Russia expressed support for Belarus, allowing the possibility of restructuring its debt. According to Reuters, during the negotiations, which lasted about four hours, President Putin also promised to provide the Belarusian leader with a loan of $ 1.5 billion. In addition, the President of the Russian Federation proposed, if necessary, to transfer his special forces to Belarus. At the same time, Moscow announced that Russian paratroopers would take part in joint military exercises. «Slavic brotherhood».
The leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was Lukashenko’s main rival in the elections, wrote in her Telegram channel: «I want to remind Vladimir Putin: whatever you accept and whatever you agree on during the meeting in Sochi – it will not be valid. All agreements signed with the illegitimate Lukashenko will be reviewed by the new government. Because the Belarusian people refused to trust and support Lukashenka at the elections. I am very sorry that you decided to conduct a dialogue with the dictator, and not with the Belarusian people.».

Tens of thousands of Belarus protesters rally on eve of Putin-Lukashenko talks

Many European leaders have called Putin to express concern about the situation with Belarus. For example, in Paris they say that French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly called for a peaceful settlement with respect for the will of the Belarusian people..
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that the Belarusian authorities immediately release all detained protesters and called on official Minsk to end the violence..

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