Daily Memo: Belarus’ President Speaks to the Nation and to Russia

According to reports, Belarus has been shifting military equipment to the Russian border over the past three days.

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Lukashenko addresses Belarus – and Russia. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday delivered his annual address to the public and the National Assembly. Lukashenko announced plans to change the Constitution, without providing details, and pledged to increase the average salary in the country by up to two times within five years. Belarus, which will hold a presidential election on Sunday, has faced a foreign destabilization effort, according to Lukashenko. Last week, Belarusian authorities said they had detained 33 Russian mercenaries accused of sowing unrest, and relations with Russia featured heavily in Lukashenko’s address. According to the president, the “oil showdown” with Moscow had cost his country 1.5 billion rubles ($615 million) in budget revenues. He put the blame for souring relations on Russia, and said his government would build strategic relationships with the West, including the U.S., and with China. He added, however, that Russia will always be the closest ally of Belarus, no matter who is in power. Still, it hasn’t escaped notice that the Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced military drills for Aug. 11, two days after the election, in northern Belarus near the border with Russia. According to reports, Belarus has been shifting military equipment to the Russian […]

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