Belarusian leader says he asked Putin for weapons


  • World
  • Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020

FILE PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting in Sochi, Russia September 14, 2020, in this still image taken from a video. Russian Presidential Executive Office/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to supply Belarus with weapons as he faces mass protests over a disputed election.

Speaking to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during talks in Minsk, Lukashenko said: "I also asked the president of Russia for several new types of weapons."

He did not specify which weapons he had requested from Putin.

"We can keep the situation under control not only in Belarus, but also along our borders," Lukashenko added, according to Belta state news agency.

Russia and Belarus are currently holding joint military drills that run until late September. Lukashenko said the two countries should plan more drills of the same kind.

Lukashenko, who has been in power in the ex-Soviet country since 1994, also said that new presidential elections would be held once Belarus adopts a new constitution.

His comments came two days after Putin hosted Lukashenko for talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi where the Russian leader bestowed a $1.5 billion (1.15 billion pounds) loan on Belarus.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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