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21 Aug, 2020 14:51

A neutral Belarus? Country’s opposition insists it doesn’t want either NATO or Russian troops inside its borders

A neutral Belarus? Country’s opposition insists it doesn’t want either NATO or Russian troops inside its borders

The Belarusian opposition is against the deployment of foreign troops on the country’s soil, and wants to pursue a policy of neutrality, according to Valery Tsepkalo, one of the movement's leaders.

“We must not allow NATO troops to be present on the territory of Belarus in any way, to create a threat to Russia, or to another country – Ukraine,” he said. At the same time, he noted that the opposition is also against having Russian troops inside the country, wishing to have good relations with all its neighbors.

Tsepkalo had planned to run against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the 2020 election, but was barred by the Central Election Commission for not collecting enough valid nomination signatures. Less than a month later, he fled to Moscow with his two sons after alleged threats of prosecution.

The former would-be candidate also bemoaned the opposition’s failure to ensure that the world community recognized Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the legitimate president, admitting they had made a mistake. The opposition wants the country to avoid a Maidan-like scenario, and would rather any transition of power is effected through legal elections.

The unrest in Belarus began on August 9, when the country held presidential elections. After the closing of the polling stations, mass protests began against the alleged falsification of results. Officially, incumbent President Lukashenko received 80.10 percent of the vote, with opposition candidate Tikhanovskaya receiving 10.12 percent. During successive days of protests, police and internal troops used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, while strikes began at large factories.

Also on rt.com ‘We won’t budge’: Belarus sends MISSILES & DRONES to western border - says it is responding to ‘NATO activity’

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