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Russia sets up law enforcement unit on Lukashenko’s request to aid Belarus — Putin

The backup unit will not be used unless the situation gets out of control, according to the Russian president

MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. Russia has set up a backup law enforcement unit on the request of incumbent President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, however, it will not be used so far, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday in an interview with the 60 Minutes program on the Rossiya-1 TV channel.

"Alexander Grigoryevich [Lukashenko] has asked me to form a backup law enforcement unit, and I have done so. However, we also agreed that it won't be used unless the situation gets out of control," the president said.

He explained that the unit would not be used "unless extremist elements hiding behind political slogans cross certain lines," namely, unless they begin to "torch houses, banks, to try seizing administrative buildings and so on."

"However, Alexander Grigoryevich and I decided that there is no need for that yet, and I hope that there won’t be one. This is why we are not using this backup unit," Putin explained.

So far, Putin and Lukashenko have discussed the situation in Belarus four times over the phone. Besides, the Russian leader discussed the current events in Belarus with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Council Charles Michel.

Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote, while Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered 10.12%. She is currently in Lithuania. Protests erupted in the country's capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers. According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, several thousand people were detained, and dozens of police officers and demonstrators suffered injuries. Attempts to organize strikes at several Belarusian plants were made. Rallies to support Lukashenko later emerged in Minsk and other Belarusian cities.

The opposition established a Coordination Council for the transition of power in the country. The Belarusian Investigative Committee launched criminal proceedings over its creation.