Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia, today (14 September). High on the agenda are the ongoing protests in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, and the Russian military joint exercises with Belarusian troops in Belarus. The two leaders will discuss the current state and prospects for bilateral cooperation in various fields.
The joint military exercises with Belarusian troops will take place next week from 20-25 September. An airborne landing unit will feature in the exercises, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence.
On Sunday (13 September), thousands of people again demonstrated in Minsk calling for the resignation of President Lukashenko. The city's Independence Square was closed with barbed wire.
The trip to Sochi will be Lukashenko's first visit abroad since the presidential election in August, and the subsequent mass protests.
photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (picture courtesy of TASS news agency, Moscow)
Most countries have called for end to hostilities and return to negotiations. There were exceptions.