MINSK, November 17. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has commended the support of Russia and China during this period of extraordinary foreign pressure being put on Belarus.
“At a time of unprecedented external pressure, Belarus has received wide-ranging support from its traditional allies. We have received the most tangible assistance and support during this difficult time from Russia, China and other countries. Thus, once again we’ve been reassured that a friend in need is a friend indeed," Lukashenko said on Tuesday, quoted by BelTA news agency.
During a government session, Lukashenko spotlighted pertinent issues, discussing the further development of relations with Russia and China and the implementation of agreements reached following top-level meetings and visits by Russian officials to Belarus this year.
Last Friday, Lukashenko said in an interview with foreign media that Belarus would never switch its course from Russia towards other countries. He stressed that the Belarusian government had never turned its back on Russia and never betrayed the interests of Russian-Belarusian cooperation.
Nationwide demonstrations have 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. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.
Following the protests, the EU, the UK, the US and Canada slapped sanctions on a number of Belarusian officials.