Putin says Lukashenko should start dialogue with Belarusian opposition

Source: WTVB News

“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to start a dialogue with his opponents, who swiftly poured cold water on the idea unless Lukashenko freed political prisoners first. Putin helped Lukashenko ride out mass street protests after a disputed election last year and has also backed Belarus in a standoff with the European Union over thousands of migrants stranded on the EU’s eastern borders. But the two leaders have endured a prickly relationship over the years …. ‘Reportedly, Putin had just called on (Lukashenko) to start the dialogue with the opposition,’ said Franak Viacorka, a senior adviser to exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who ran against Lukashenko in the election. ‘However, before this dialogue happens, we must make sure this dialogue doesn’t take place in prison. All political prisoners must be released as a pre-condition, and violence must end.'” (11/18/21)