MINSK, June 19. /TASS/. Belarusian authorities thwarted a large-scale plan to destabilize the state, which involved outside powers, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday during a meeting on the banking system.
"We finally were able to act in advance and thwart a wide-scale plan to destabilize Belarus and bring the country to some kind of Maidan [orchestrated revolution]. That was their plan. Masks were ripped off of not only certain puppets we had here, but also of puppeteers who are outside Belarus," Lukashenko said, according to the BelTA news agency.
According to the Belarusian leader, "today the focus of all political interests is on Belarus, both in the West and the East."
"Observing the situation throughout the last 24 hours, I see that certain powers have activated and begin to get intensive, rocking the situation in the country. We have watched this for a long time," Lukashenko said.
He warned that he would not allow a shake-up of the country. "I would like you to understand that under no circumstances, both due to my constitutional duties as president, and simply as a man who devoted his life to the establishment of this independent sovereign state, I will never allow this country to break up," he said. "I want you and others to understand me. There is no higher value than a sovereign and independent Belarus for me. And I am committed to the preservation of this country, no matter what the cost."
On June 11, the State Control Committee announced a search in Belgazprombank. The Committee’s Financial Investigation Department initiated criminal proceeding over charges of tax evasion on a particularly large scale and money laundering on a particularly large scale. Belgazprombank’s ex-CEO, presidential candidate Viktor Babariko claimed that the bank incident was politically orchestrated.
On June 17, Babariko’s account, connected to his campaign fund, was blocked. On June 18, the State Control Committee announced that Babariko was apprehended because he was the direct mastermind behind the illegal activities. Babariko’s son Eduard, who chaired his father’s campaign, was apprehended as well. A total of over 20 people were arrested over the Belgazprombank case.
On Friday, the Prosecutor General of Belarus initiated a criminal case over charges of establishment or participation in a criminal organization. Those involved in the case face up to 15 years in prison.