Lithuania says Russian military help in Belarus would mean 'an invasion'

17 August 2020 - 11:07 By Reuters
People protest against presidential election results during an opposition demonstration near a plant of the heavy off-road vehicles manufacturer MZKT in Minsk, Belarus August 17, 2020.
People protest against presidential election results during an opposition demonstration near a plant of the heavy off-road vehicles manufacturer MZKT in Minsk, Belarus August 17, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Russian military help in Belarus would constitute "an invasion", Lithuanian foreign affairs minister Linas Linkevicius said on Monday.

"There are no reasons for military support from Russia, and no legal or other grounds for it. It would constitute an invasion into the country and would destroy the last traces of its independence", Linkevicius told reporters in Vilnius.

"Russia would risk a lot if it did it, in the face of what is going on in Belarus, in the face of the popular support. It should figure out that an invasion would not be justified, neither legally, nor morally, nor politically", he added.

The Kremlin said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had told longtime Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko that Moscow was ready to assist Belarus in accordance with a collective military pact if necessary.

He also said external pressure was being applied to the country, although he did not say where from. 

German president urges military in Belarus not to use violence

Germany's president on Monday urged the military in Belarus not to use violence as Belarusians protest against what demonstrators say was the fraudulent re-election a week ago of the country's longtime president.

"I urge the Belarusian military not to sin against their own people by using force," said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose post is largely ceremonial.

Steinmeier, who said he admired the demonstrators' courage, urged President Alexander Lukashenko to seek dialogue with them and said the people in Belarus deserved solidarity and support.

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