Category: Belarus
Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko
worker | May 27, 2021 | 7:59 pm | Belarus, Russia | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/524877-western-enemies-belarus-testing-ground/

Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko

Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko
Countries unfriendly to Belarus have moved on from organizing riots and are now onto the stage of “strangulation,” a tactic they will later use in Russia. That’s according to the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko.

Speaking to politicians, Lukashenko explained his view that protests have been deemed to have failed in Belarus, so foreign backers of the opposition are changing tack.

“That’s why they’ve gone from organizing riots to the strangulation stage,” he said. “They are searching for new vulnerabilities, and it is not only aimed at us: we are a testing ground, a place for to experiment before they rush to East [Russia].”

ALSO ON RT.COMUS & NATO allies harming potential Donbass peace by giving more money, weapons and support to Ukrainian army, says Russian FMIll-wishers from both outside and inside the country have changed their methods of attack on the state, Lukashenko said, explaining that they have “crossed many red lines” and “crossed the line of common sense and human morality.”

Last August, Belarus burst into waves of demonstrations and mass unrest following the Presidential Election. According to official results, Lukashenko earned 80% of the vote and won a sixth term in power. However, the country’s opposition believes the election to be falsified, with some saying opposition figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the true victor. In the months following the vote, her supporters took to the streets across the country to protest.

According to the president, Belarusian authorities took tough measures during the demonstrations, and as a result they were able to “nip the wave of neo-Nazism in the bud.”

“Our actions may have seemed excessive to those who justify their atrocities. But this strategy is vital for the country,” he said.

In recent days, new measures have been taken against Minsk, following Sunday’s emergency grounding of a Ryanair plane from Greece, due to a supposed bomb threat. Once it landed at Minsk airport, police came onto the aircraft and arrested activist Roman Protasevich, a passenger on the flight. Later, when no bomb was found, the plane left Belarus to its final destination of Lithuania.

In response to what many called “piracy,” many European countries have stopped accepting Belarusian planes into their airspace.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Flying High for Foreign Powers?
worker | May 26, 2021 | 9:04 pm | Belarus | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202105251082992744-flying-high-for-foreign-powers/

COLUMNISTS

Get short URL
by 
9581
Subscribe

The blogger Roman Protasevich snatched out of the air by Belarus authorities seems to have heavy-hitting Western friends. The US president and European leaders have condemned his arrest and are demanding his release.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, has denounced Belarus for ordering the landing of an airliner in Minsk and taking Protasevich into custody.

“We will put pressure on the regime until it finally respects the freedom of media, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of opinion,” declared Von der Leyen as the European Union imposed a new round of sanctions on Belarus.

US President Joe Biden said the incident was “a direct affront to international norms”. His Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was a “shocking” violation of aviation rules and the rights of journalists.

Aside from the hypocrisy here (recall the US ordered several EU countries to force the landing of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane in 2013), there are other nuances.

Protasevich may be a blogger and journalist in name. But he was wanted by the Belarus government for allegedly inciting sedition through a media channel he set up from exile in Poland. Requests from Belarus for his extradition were ignored. It is arguable therefore that the Belarus authorities had legal right to ground the plane he was aboard as it transited the nation’s sovereign airspace en route from Greece to Lithuania at the weekend.

 

The 26-year-old Protasevich has had a checkered and dubiously awarded career. As a graduate student of journalism in Belarus, he was made a Vaclav Havel Fellow in 2017-18, awarded by the US government-funded propaganda service, Radio Free Europe. RFE has a long history of being a CIA front which goes back to the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

He went into exile in 2019 working from Poland on creating opposition media campaigns against the Belarus government. Then in 2020, Protasevich was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

It seems plausible that the young Belarusian activist, like several others among his peers, was groomed to perform as a conduit for foreign powers to interfere in and destabilize Belarus. Long-time President Alexander Lukashenko is a target for Western regime change owing to his country’s close relations with neighboring Russia.

When Lukashenko won re-election in August 2020, the West decried a rigged ballot, and street protests kicked in. The Western-supported opposition media channels run by Protasevich and other exiled Belarusians were instrumental in fomenting the anti-government demonstrations.

Belarusian opposition supporters rally in the center of Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020.  A vast demonstration with many thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Belarus' authoritarian president are rallying in the capital, continuing the public dissent since the disputed presidential election.
© AP PHOTO
Belarusian opposition supporters rally in the center of Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. A vast demonstration with many thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Belarus’ authoritarian president are rallying in the capital, continuing the public dissent since the disputed presidential election.

Lukashenko’s government has been accused of using heavy-handed repression and mass arrests.

However, Belarus seems to have legitimate concerns that it was being targeted for a color-style revolution. That is, for illegal regime change by Western powers.

It does seem suspicious that Western media coverage of Protasevich’s arrest went promptly ballistic with condemnations. Radio Free Europe, his alma mater, devoted several articles to the story.

 

There are also more sinister aspects to Protasevich’s busy career. According to Ukrainian and Russian media reports, he was seconded on communications work in Ukraine’s civil war where he was befriended by far-right leaders of the Maidan movement, the CIA-backed group which carried out the coup d’état in Kiev in 2014. Protasevich reportedly did communications for the Azov Battalion, the notorious Neo-Nazi militant group which has terrorized the ethnic Russian population in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine.

It is not clear at this stage if Belarus violated international aviation rules when it ordered the airliner to make a detour landing in Minsk whereupon Protasevich was apprehended. The so-called Chicago Convention affords countries sovereignty over their national airspaces.

In any case, American and European states have set huge precedents for such an irregular intervention from their past “hijacking” of the Bolivian president’s private jet, as well as from countless cases of “extraordinary rendition” flights by the Americans with European complicity in secret transport of “terror suspects”.

But what seems clear is that the case of Protasevich is not simply that of an innocent opposition journalist, as the West is sanctimoniously making out. He and his alumni of Radio Free Europe have a case to answer over allegations of working for foreign powers to destabilize their native country.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

 

Belarusian President Lukashenko Accuses Nation’s Ill-Wishers of Strangling Country
worker | May 26, 2021 | 9:02 pm | Belarus | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/europe/202105261082998709-belarusian-president-lukashenko-accuses-nations-ill-wishers-of-strangling-country/

EUROPE

Get short URL
19532

MINSK (Sputnik) – Those who wish Belarus ill, both outside and inside the country, have gone from organising riots to “strangling” the nation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday.

“The ill-wishers of Belarus have proceeded from organising riots to the strangling stage”, Lukashenko told Belarusian lawmakers, the Constitutional Commission, and state administrative bodies, as quoted by the state-run news agency Belta.

 

According to Lukashenko, those who wish the country ill, both outside and inside Belarus “have changed their methods of attacks against the state”. 

“They’ve crossed many red lines, they crossed the boundaries of common sense and human morality”, the president concluded.

Lukashenko Slams West for Refusing to Investigate Ryanair Incident

Lukashenko also said on Wednesday that the West refuses to investigate the Ryanair emergency landing in Minsk, Belarus’ TV News Agency, part of the Belteleradiocompany state media holding, reported.

“I acted legitimately, I was protecting people, I acted in line with all the international rules. The plane was reversed close to the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant. What if the NPP safety systems were put on full alert?”, Lukashenko went on to say.

Ryanair Bomb Threat Came From Switzerland, Reports Suggest

The message about the threat of an explosion aboard the Ryanair plane, which was forced to make an emergency landing in Minsk, came from Switzerland, Belarus’ TV News Agency reported.

On 24 May, the director of the Belarusian Transport Ministry’s aviation department said the bomb threat came from Hamas.

However, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on Monday denied the group’s involvement in the Ryanair incident, saying the organisation does not resort to such methods.

 

On 23 May, a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius was forced into an emergency landing in Minsk following a bomb threat, which later turned out to be false. Opposition blogger Roman Protasevich, who was among the passengers, was detained during the stopover in the Belarusian capital. The founder of the Telegram channel “Nexta”, which is considered extremist by the Belarusian authorities, now faces up to 15 years in prison. 

The incident with the Ryanair flight has triggered a wave of criticism from European leaders, who accused the Belarusian authorities of meddling with the European Union’s civil aviation and threatened to close Belarusian airspace for international flights. Yet, this is not the first time a plane has been grounded at the request of a third country’s authorities. In 2013, the plane of Bolivia’s then-President Evo Morales was directed by Austria to make an emergency landing at the behest of the United States, during the hunt for the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The whistleblower was not on board.