The Guardian
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Belarus leader Lukashenko says wants to talk with Putin


Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko said Saturday he wanted to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin as protests grew over a disputed election.

“The aggression against Belarus is developing. We need to contact Putin, the president of Russia, so that I can talk with him now,” Lukashenko said in a meeting with government officials.

“Because this is already a threat not only to Belarus.”

Thousands of opposition supporters have been taking to the streets for days against Lukashenko’s claim to have won re-election last Sunday with 80 percent of the vote, in the biggest challenge to his rule since he came to power in 1994.

Belarus is more tightly linked to Russia than any other country and the two form a “union state” with an integrated economic zone and military alliance.

“The protection of Belarus today is no less than the protection of our entire space, the union state, and an example to others. If Belarus cannot withstand it, this wave will roll there.”

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