Russian president Vladimir Putin met in Sochi on Monday (14 September) with embattled Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and extended a hand of friendship, and a USD1.5 billion loan. Belarus is already heavily dependent on Russia from where it imports most of its oil and gas.
During the meeting, Putin said that Belarusians should decide their own political future: "You know our position well: we want the Belarusians themselves, without any encouragement and pressure from outside, to engage in a calm dialogue with each other in order to resolve this situation and reach a joint decision'', said the Russian President.
Lukashenko is under pressure in Belarus after last month's presidential election, which he claimed to have won with 80% of the vote. The opposition says the vote was heavily falsified. Since election day there has been unrest in Belarus, with massive demonstrations in Minsk and other cities.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: Russian president Vladimir Putin met in Sochi on Monday (14 September) with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. (picture courtesy of Reuters, London)
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