Russia-Belarus relations affected after Lukashenko comments

GELENDZHIK, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) - Russia on Monday said that the relations with Belarus were affected and "won't be the same" after President Alexander Lukashenko's anti-Russian comments, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman said.

"Relations with the Belarusian leadership have clearly hit a dead-end recently," Natalya Timakova told reporters.

"The Belarusian leadership has always been characterized by a desire to create an external enemy image in the public consciousness. The United States, Europe and the Western countries acted as such 'enemies' earlier. Now Russia is declared the enemy," Russian President Dimitry Medvedev said in a Sunday video blog.

However, Russia said that it will maintain political relations with Belarus through some contacts. Lukashenko wants to be reelected at any cost on the upcoming December 19 presidential elections and his comments intend to earn votes by pointing out Russia as the national enemy.

Russian analysts believe that after the election, and if Lukashenko wins, he will try to approach Russia again. The controversy stemmed after reports surfaced indicating that Russia will probably support and opposition candidate. In the past, Russia has always backed Lukashenko.

Lukashenko also expressed his confidence that neither the United States nor Russia will exert pressure on the forth coming polls. However, on Monday, Russia announced that it designated a team of observers to assess the elections adequately.

Belarus and Russia's differences began to intensify after Minsk refused to recognize the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are supported by Moscow.


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