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West doing everything possible to avoid convergence of Russia and Belarus - envoy

There is a huge multitude of examples, said Russian Ambassador to Minsk Dmitry Mezentsev

MINSK, March 3. /TASS/. The West is doing everything possible to avoid close integration of Russia and Belarus, trying to pull them away from each other, Russian Ambassador to Minsk Dmitry Mezentsev said on Tuesday on the Belarus-1 TV channel.

"The thing is that political integration and convergence between Belarus and Russia is a key factor that the West disagrees with, and [the West] needs to do everything to pull Belarus away from Russia. And unfortunately, there is a huge multitude of examples of that even before our eyes," the diplomat said.

Mezentsev stressed that seemingly, Western countries should encourage other states to converge, to move towards dialogue with the EU, to lower the level of tensions that "cannot correspond to the 21st century, the civilized century." However, threats and mutual claims move to the forefront, and a model is imposed that "a certain partner from post-Soviet states should agree with, and if they do not, threats and sanctions only rise." According to the diplomat, this is "a dead end that won’t lead to anything, but makes all of us, both sides, poorer."

Nationwide demonstrations engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. Some local protest actions continue to this day, however, they are not numerous. Meanwhile, the EU, the UK, the US and Canada introduced personal and economic sanctions against a number of Belarusian officials and entities. So far, the EU has introduced three packages of sanctions.