Russia accuses Ukraine over Belarus, and dismisses opposition alliance

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei in Moscow, Russia September 2, 2020. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine on Wednesday of fomenting trouble in neighboring Belarus, and said Moscow saw no point in engaging with a Belarusian opposition council that has emerged amid nationwide anti-government protests.

Lavrov, speaking in Moscow after talks with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, said 200 trained Ukrainian extremists were inside Belarus trying to destabilize it.

The protest erupted after an Aug. 9 presidential election marred by allegations of election rigging. Russia is a close ally of Belarus.

Kyiv said the allegations were fictitious.

“Ukraine has not conducted, is not conducting and will not conduct any subversive activities against Belarus,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Facebook.

Kuleba said last week that Kyiv had frozen official contacts with Belarus, and joined the European Union in condemning the election as neither free nor fair. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for a new election.

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