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Putin, Lukashenko agree to meet in Moscow

Moscow, Aug 31 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko have agreed to meet in Moscow “in the coming weeks”, the Kremlin said in a statement.

During a phone call on Sunday, Putin and Lukashenko reaffirmed their common position to further strengthen the Russian-Belarusian alliance and mutually expand beneficial cooperation in all areas, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the specific date for the Putin-Lukashenko meeting has not been set yet.

Earlier this week, Putin said that Russia regards Lukashenko as the legitimate President of Belarus, and Moscow was ready to intervene if the situation in Belarus gets out of control, although only as a last resort.

Belarus has been witnessing mass protests after Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, won a sixth term in the August 9 elections.

According to official results, Lukashenk won more than 80 per cent of the votes and opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered only 10 per cent.

There were no independent observers and the opposition has alleged massive vote rigging.

The European Union has also refused to recognize the results and threatened to impose sanctions.

–IANS

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