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Archive for Belarus

Newsline: Belarus summons Ukraine ambassador over stray missile

Belarus has protested to Ukraine’s ambassador after saying it had downed a Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile in a field. The Ukrainian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry in Minsk to receive a formal protest. “The Belarusian side views this incident as extremely serious,” Anatoly Glaz, a spokesman for the ministry, said. “We demanded that the Ukrainian side conduct a thorough investigation … [and] hold those responsible to account and take comprehensive measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/29/belarus-summons-ukraine-envoy-over-stray-air-defence-missile) The military commissar of Belarus’s southwestern region of Brest, Oleg Konovalov, played Thursday’s incident down in a video posted on social media by the state-run BelTA news agency, saying locals had “absolutely nothing to worry about”. Konovalov compared the incident to one in November, when an S-300 believed to have strayed after being fired by Ukrainian air defences landed on the territory of NATO-member Poland, triggering fears of an escalation that were rapidly defused.

Newsline: Belarus’ foreign policy to remain unchanged after top diplomat’s death

Belarus’ foreign policy course will not be changed after the death of Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, regardless of who takes his office, Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Countries, told TASS on Sunday. The expert argued that Makei “once used to be a kind of a leader of the pro-Western faction in [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko’s team.” “He was pursuing a policy that was dictated by Lukashenko. So, I don’t think that there will be any cardinal changes in Belarus’ policy to other countries,” Zharikhin said. (https://tass.com/world/1542435) Vladimir Makei died on Saturday at the age of 64. He worked at the Council of Europe and headed the European Cooperation Department of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. He was appointed foreign minister in August 2012.

Newsline: Belarusian foreign minister dies without official explanation

The Belarusian Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei, has died mysteriously. According to Belarus-owned news agency Belta, Mr Makei “died suddenly” at the age of 64, having served in the position since 2012. (https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1701892/Belarusian-foreign-minister-dead-state-media-Russia-Ukraine-war-latest-Lukashenko-Putin) The state media gave no official reason and refrained from disclosing details. The sudden death comes amid rising tensions between NATO and Belarus, as Russia continues to deploy their troops in the country. However, the president Alexander Lukashenko recently dismissed speculation that Belarus was about the join the war in Ukraine.

Newsline: Russia and Belarus ambassadors barred from Nobel ceremony

The ambassadors of Russia and Belarus have been excluded from this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm because of the war in Ukraine. “Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Nobel Foundation has chosen not to invite the ambassadors of Russia and Belarus to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm,” it said in a statement. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/russia-and-belarus-ambassadors-barred-from-nobel-ceremony/) The Nobel Foundation, a private foundation which administers the prestigious awards, normally invites ambassadors stationed in Sweden to the annual award ceremony on December 10. The Nobel Prizes are always handed out on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Newsline: Belarus’s failure to renew EU ambassador’s accreditation seen as “hostile” move

The Belarusian authorities have decided not to renew the accreditation of the European Union ambassador to Belarus, Dirk Schuebel, a decision that the bloc considers a “hostile” act that will further damage the already deteriorated bilateral relations. “It is obvious that this hostile step will further reduce the space for diplomatic contacts and bilateral relations,” a spokesman for the EU’s External Action Service told Europa Press. (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/belarus-does-not-renew-european-ambassador-s-accreditation-eu-sees-it-as-hostile-act/ar-AA12Pwar) he head of the European Union delegation in Minsk “remained willing and committed” to continue his mandate, the spokesman lamented, regretting that Alexander Lukashenko’s regime has gone “one step further” in the deterioration of relations. The European diplomacy also recalls that this incident is in addition to what happened last September, when the business manager of the EU delegation in Minsk, Evelina Schulz, was detained in an “illegal and unacceptable” manner, after the senior official attended the trial of opposition activists.

Newsline: Georgia summons Belarus ambassador

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Ambassador of Belarus to Georgia following the visit of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to the Abkhazia region. (https://georgiatoday.ge/georgian-mfa-summons-belarus-ambassador-following-lukashenkos-visit-to-abkhazia/) As previously reported, Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Abkhazia on Wednesday and met with its de-facto leader Aslan Bzhania in Bichvinta. While in office, it was the first time for Alexander Lukashenko to enter Abkhazia. It is noteworthy that Belarus does not recognize the independence of Abkhazia or Tskhinvali region.

Newsline: EU calls detention of senior diplomat in Belarus ‘deplorable’

The European Union condemned the detention of a senior diplomat to Belarus who attended the trial of opposition activists in the capital Minsk as “unacceptable and deplorable”. Evelina Schulz, chargée d’affaires of the EU delegation in Minsk, was detained by Belarusian police for more than two hours on Tuesday as she exited court after the public reading of verdicts in an otherwise closed-door trial, a spokesperson for the EU’s diplomatic service said. “This illegal detention of a diplomat is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations … and undermines their security in Belarus,” Peter Stano, spokesperson for the European External Action Service (EEAS), said in an emailed statement. The Belarus foreign ministry responded by condemning Schulz for attending the trial and dismissed the EU criticism as a diplomatic “absurdity”. “We were forced to do this in response to unfriendly actions against our country,” Anatoly Glaz, spokesperson for the Belarusian foreign ministry said. The Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations prohibits interfering in the domestic affairs of the host country and does not include “roaming around the courts or giving assessments of the work of the judiciary,” he added. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/eu-calls-detention-of-senior-diplomat-in-belarus-deplorable-2745419) The Belarusian chargé d’affaires in Brussels was summoned for an explanation of the incident.

Newsline: Romania recalls its ambassador from Belarus

Romania is recalling its ambassador to Belarus in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said, joining several other states amid continued tensions after Minsk’s disputed presidential election. “Belarus needs to understand that using diplomatic pressure on EU member states will not help dialogue and will not bring positive results.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-romania-diplomacy-idUSKBN26U0Z0) Belarus has accused its neighbours Poland and Lithuania of meddling in its affairs by hosting exiled opposition leaders and refusing to recognise Alexander Lukashenko’s victory in the Aug. 9 poll. Critics said the vote was rigged. Romania joins Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Slovakia in recalling its envoy. “We decided to recall our ambassador in Belarus for consultations in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland,” Aurescu said on Twitter.

Newsline: UK recalls ambassador to Belarus amid unrest

The UK has temporarily recalled its ambassador from Belarus amid growing tensions over political unrest there. Authorities in Minsk have cracked down on protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, who claimed victory in disputed elections in August. The opposition says he must quit but he says they are Western “puppets” trying to overthrow him. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the move was in solidarity with Poland and Lithuania – critics of Mr Lukashenko. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54489442) On Friday, Belarus expelled 35 diplomats from those two neighbouring countries. Mr Raab condemned that as a “completely unjustified” decision, which, he said on Twitter, would “only isolate the Belarusian people” further.

Newsline: Bulgaria and Slovakia recalling ambassadors from Belarus

Bulgaria and Slovakia are recalling their ambassadors to Belarus for consultations in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland, their foreign ministers said on Thursday after meeting Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Bratislava. “Steps taken by Belarus authorities against other EU Member states are unacceptable. EU remains united in its support of people of Belarus,” Slovak Foreign Ministers Ivan Korcok tweeted. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-bulgaria-diplomacy/bulgaria-recalls-its-ambassador-from-belarus-foreign-minister-idUSKBN26T2L6) Poland and Lithuania recalled their ambassadors on Tuesday to defuse regional tensions after Belarus demanded they cut staff at their embassy for their “destructive” actions. Four more EU nations, including Germany, did same on Wednesday, to show support for Poland and Lithuania.