Vladimir Putin accuses Angela Merkel of ‘unacceptable intervention’ during private call

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In a phone call between the two leaders on Tuesday, Mr Putin warned Mrs Merkel that any intervention would be unacceptable and would lead to an escalation of the current political upheaval in Belarus. A spokesman for Mrs Merkel, Steffen Seibert, said: “The Belarusian government must put a stop to violence against peaceful protesters. They must release all political prisoners immediately and engage in a national dialogue with the opposition and society.”

Mr Lukashenko has been in power for 25 years has said he will not entertain the idea of fresh elections, stating to workers at a tractor plant last week that Belarus would “perish as a state” if there was a fresh election.

He added: “We held elections already.

“Until you kill me, there will be no other elections.”

Offering to change the constitution, he said: ‘We’ll put the changes to a referendum, and I’ll hand over my constitutional powers. But not under pressure or because of the street.

‘Yes, I’m not a saint. You know my harsh side. I’m not eternal. But if you drag down the first president you’ll drag down neighbouring countries and all the rest.’

In Belarus, protesters have called for leader Alexander Lukashenko to step down for the last ten days.

Police have cracked down against demonstrators with two people dying as a result.

President Lukashenko Tuesday awarded medals “for impeccable service” to law enforcement officers who have dispersed protesters.

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German chancellor Angela Merkel has said, “national dialogue with the opposition” is the only way to break the current deadlock.

Currently, the crisis is unravelling for Mr Lukashenko.

The Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Igor Leshchenya has announced he is stepping down after stating support for anti-Lukashenko demonstrators.

Mr Igor then posted a video where he said: “I stand in solidarity with those who peacefully protested on the streets and in the cities of Belarus to make their voices heard.”

Mr Leshchenya has now been offered asylum in Slovakia.

Ukraine has stated it was withdrawing its ambassador to Belarus in protest over the election of Mr Lukashenko.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “The development of events in Belarus, whose society has expressed a vote of no confidence in the official results of the presidential elections in Belarus, is fundamentally changing the situation in Belarusian-Ukrainian relations.”

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