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Kremlin says presidential inauguration is Belarus’ domestic affair

Alexander Lukashenko took the oath of office earlier on Wednesday
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, September 23. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes that it is up to Belarus to set the date for the inauguration of its president, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

"I would refrain from commenting on it because it was the Belarusian authorities’ sovereign decision, and if they made such a decision, it means they considered it to be reasonable," he said, when asked if it was a timely move on the part of Alexander Lukashenko to take the oath of office on September 23.

Peskov said that he had been unaware of the inauguration’s date in advance. In response to the question if Russian President Vladimir Putin had been invited to the ceremony, the Kremlin spokesman said that foreign leaders had not been expected to attend the Belarusian president’s inauguration.

Lukashenko took the oath of office earlier on Wednesday. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Independence Palace in Minsk with no prior announcement. Several hundred people, including state officials, lawmakers, heads of media outlets, scientists, cultural workers and athletes, attended the ceremony.

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. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who garnered 10.12%, refused to recognize the election’s results and left Belarus. 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. The opposition’s Coordination Council continues to urge the country’s people to carry on with protests until a new election is called, while the authorities are emphasizing the need to put an end to unauthorized activities.