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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to visit Moscow


Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to visit Moscow

Photo: AP

Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, in Moscow.

Belarusian fighter jets intercepted a Ryanair passenger flight bound to Vilnius on May 23rd, forcing it to land in Minsk under false pretenses. A Belarusian opposition journalist was then arrested and is currently held by authorities under charges of organizing mass riots following August’s presidential election.

The act has been deemed an act of aviation piracy by Ryanair and a hijacking by both the US and EU. It has been the main topic at the EU summit in Brussels, and flights from Belarus have been banned from landing in other EU states. It is expected that economic sanctions leveled at the Lukashenko regime will be announced shortly.

With EU relations already tense, it is likely the Lukashenko will pivot to Russia for support, increasing Russia’s leverage in Eastern Europe. Putin has called the incident a “domestic dispute.” Both Belarus and Russia’s intelligence community list the journalist and his accomplices as terrorists. As Belarus pivots further away from Western democracy, it is nearly guaranteed that civil liberties and freedom of both information and assembly will be put on hold indefinitely.

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