Belarus Review by iSANS — July 08, 2024 

Belarus Review by iSANS — July 08, 2024
Photo: Ye Jinghan / Unsplash


Belarus Review (2024 edition, issue 26)

A weekly update on the ongoing political crisis in the Republic of Belarus was prepared for you by the International Strategic Action Network for Security (iSANS).

On July 1, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus hosted a protocol meeting between Chief of the General Staff Pavel Muraveika and the Defense Attache at the Chinese Embassy in Belarus Liu Zhe. During the meeting, the high status of the Belarusian-Chinese relations was emphasized. According to an agreement reached at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in September 2022, these relations have the status of an “all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership”. The sides also discussed the current state of bilateral cooperation in the military sphere and outlined ways of further cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

On July 3, a military parade dedicated to the Independence Day and the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus from Nazi Germany took place in Minsk. In addition to the Belarusian military, representatives of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan took part in the parade. On the broadcast of the parade, the launchers of Iskander-M missile systems with a radiation hazard sign on board were shown in close-up. This way the organizers of the parade wanted to emphasize the transfer of nuclear weapons to Belarus. However, now there is still no reliable data that would confirm the deployment of nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

On July 3, a regular meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS member states was held in Minsk. In his speech, Minister of Defense of Belarus Viktar Khrenin stated that “the military-political situation in the Eastern European region is characterized as a crisis with prerequisites for transition to a conflict phase.” Also, according to Khrenin, “several challenges and threats have formed in the military sphere, which … can lead to an open armed confrontation, up to the use of nuclear weapons.” Issues of the development of multilateral military cooperation, including the Plan of Joint activities for 2025, were considered and approved during the meeting.

On July 3, 11 MiG-29 and Su-30SM fighters of the Russian Air Force flew back to Russia from the “Baranavichi” airfield. On the same day, 11 helicopters of the Russian Air Force of the 344th Combat Training and Retraining Center for Army Aviation Personnel flew to Russia from the “Machulishchi” airfield. Planes and helicopters had been in Belarus since the end of June and took part in the military parade on July 3. Five aircraft of the Russian Air Force continue to remain at the airfields “Lida” and “Baranavichi”.

On July 5, a briefing was held with the participation of the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Uladzimir Kupryanyuk on the situation on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. He repeated statements made earlier by other representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus. According to Kupriyanyuk, the situation on the border remains tense. A Ukrainian military group of up to 15,000 people is located directly near the border of Belarus. The transfer of Ukrainian special forces units, as well as “mercenaries and various volunteer formations” directly to the border with Belarus was also recorded. This led to a conclusion by Uladzimir Kupryanyuk that “there remains a high probability of preparing and conducting armed provocations on our territory.” Despite the difficult situation, “there is no escalation of the situation from our (Belarusian) side and there will not be.” According to Kupriyanyuk, to strengthen the protection of the border with Ukraine, units of the Armed Forces are involved along with the Border Guard Service. Joint training sessions are regularly held to respond to possible provocations and incidents. Maneuver actions of combined arms units with the support of artillery and aviation have been planned to cover the main road directions. To monitor the situation, unmanned aircraft, ground-based surveillance, and control systems are widely used. Units of almost all types and branches of the Armed Forces are involved in these activities on a rotational basis.

Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba Álvaro López Miera and his delegation arrived in Belarus on a working visit. As part of the visit, the 5th Special Forces Brigade was visitedNegotiations with the Minister of Defense of Belarus Viktar Khrenin were also held. The parties summed up the interim results of the joint work of the defense departments in the first half of the year. The importance of keeping the practical vector of interaction aimed at strengthening cooperation in the military sphere was noted.

Mohammed Bello Umar paid an official visit to the Ministry of Defense of Belarus in connection with his appointment to the post of Defense Attache at the Nigerian Embassy in Russia and Belarus (concurrently). During the accreditation meeting with the leadership of the Department of International Military Cooperation, the parties discussed issues of bilateral cooperation in the military sphere, as well as exchanged views on the directions of its development.

On July 6, Chinese military personnel arrived in Belarus to participate in joint anti-terrorist exercises, which will be held from July 8 to 19. The exercises will allow exchanging experience, coordination of Belarusian and Chinese units, and creating a foundation for further development of Belarusian-Chinese relations in the field of joint training of troops.


On June 30, the EU member states approved the eighth sanctions package against Belarus. Now, the trade restrictions already imposed on Russia are valid for Belarus. The new sanctions package aims to restrict sanctions circumvention through Belarus further. The main measures included in the current sanctions package are an export ban on certain industrial commodities, certain groups of products that can be used for military purposes, and a ban on importing helium to prevent Russia from further financing the war. New sanctions include prohibiting services for the government of Belarus or the state-owned or state-controlled businesses. The EU imposed the duty for the EU companies to ensure that their subsidiaries in third countries comply with the EU sanctions. Moreover, a “No to Belarus” clause for EU companies is imposed to ensure that their contracts with partners in third countries include a clause that prevents the re-exportation of goods used on the battlefield from reaching Belarus.

On July 1, the EU Council’s decision to increase duties on imports of Russian and Belarusian grain products into the EU came into force. The decision was adopted at the end of May 2024. The aim is to introduce prohibitive duties on grain products imported from Russia and Belarus. Duties are also being raised on oilseeds and processed products. As of July 1, the duty on milled wheat is 95 Euro per ton, durum wheat – 148 Euro, barley and rye – 93 Euro, oilseeds, oils, protein meal, and beet pulp – 50 percent of the customs value. These products also do not have access to EU tariff quotas.

On July 1, additional customs restrictions similar to those introduced in Lithuania earlier in June, were also introduced in Latvia. These restrictions prohibit people from carrying many products from Belarus across the border. The governments of Latvia and Lithuania prohibit cigarettes, alcohol, many food products, or even soft drinks from being “imported” from Belarus into these countries. Many Belarusians shared in different chats and Telegram groups information that they were asked to leave products at the border and not allowed to take more than a package of cigarettes or forced to leave soft drinks at the border checkpoints.

On July 3, the day when the Lukashenka regime celebrates the Day of Independence (not recognized by the pro-democratic Belarusian community), Ministers of National Security of Lithuania and Poland met on the border with Belarus to discuss the hybrid warfare carried out by the Lukashenka regime and orchestrated by the Kremlin in the form of an organized influx of irregular migrants at the EU Eastern borders, whereas the worst situation is currently in Poland. Both Ministers, Wladislaw Kosiniak-Karmysz and Laurynas Kasčiūnas, stated at a meeting near border checkpoint Medininkai (Kamenny Log) that both countries will carry out the exchange of experience on building defense strips and fortifications as well as border security measures on the respective borders of Poland and Lithuania with Belarus. Ministers underlined that both countries would work together so that the question of the security of NATO’s Eastern borders would become not only a matter of Poland and Lithuania but of all member states of the alliance.

Since July 4, Poland imposed a ban on goods and products for individuals traveling to Belarus. Reportedly, the customs officials and border guards stopped stamping “tax-free” forms and prevented people taking products “for their own use” from going through the “green corridor”. The explanation for this is EU sanctions, however, there is no official explanation of new restrictions from the Polish side.

On July 4, during the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana Belarus became the full-fledged tenth member of the organization. During the summit which was held under the presidency of Kazakhstan, a declaration was adopted, outlining, along with future strategies and visions for the activity of the organization, the historical significance of Belarus becoming a full member of the SCO. The President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev sincerely congratulated Aliaksandr Lukashenka on the positive decision for Belarus and said he is sure “this day will become a bright day in the history of Belarus”. The Kazakhstani President stated that, in his opinion, Belarus will make a significant contribution to strengthening security in the SCO area. On his behalf, Lukashenka didn’t shy from accusing the West of “illegal” sanctions imposed against Belarus and staging conflicts that impacted the whole security situation in Europe (more about his propagandistic slogans see the PROPAGANDA section of this Review).

On July 5, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. mission to the OSCE Katherine Brucker delivered a message at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on the death of a former OSCE colleague and later Ambassador of Belarus to Germany Dzianis Sidorenko. Katherine Brucker recalled the work with Dzianis Sidorenko back in the 2000s as his seat was just a few chairs away from her and stated, “he was everything one could wish for in a colleague”. “As many in this room have heard”, said Katherine Brucker, “Denis died – presumably by suicide – on June 23 after intensive interrogations and polygraph tests conducted by the Belarusian KGB after his return to Minsk after eight years of work in Berlin as ambassador to Germany. There are reports that traces of torture were found on his body. Denis has two children left». The U.S. diplomat claimed that one might never know the true circumstances surrounding Dzianis Sidorenko’s death and expressed hope that an appropriate way to honor the deceased diplomat would be found. iSANS reported in the previous issue of the Belarus Review on the sudden death of the Ambassador. A version that Sidorenko committed suicide after repeated interrogations and polygraph tests by the KGB upon his return from Germany was circulated in the media.

On July 4-5, the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was on a working visit in Latvia. During the visit, Tsikhanouskaya opened an exhibition “25 Steps to Freedom” in Daugavpils, which features works of Belarusian artist Volha Yakubovskaya. The characters in this series are cats that embody real people who have left a significant mark on the country’s history during the 2020 events. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya held meetings at the Daugavpils University and discussed earlier cooperation of the University with Belarusian higher education institutions until 2020, seeking to restore connections through the democratic forces to allow Belarusian students to receive European education. During her visit, Tsikhanouskaya met with Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Baiba Braže. The parties discussed, among other things, the political situation in Belarus and the continued crackdown on activists and representatives of democratic forces, the recent release of several political prisoners, and the role of the Lukashenka regime in the weaponization of illegal migration.


Belarusian oppositionist Maryia Kalesnikava has been imprisoned since September 2020. For more than a year, her family has had no contact with her: the last letter from her came 500 days ago. “We do not have the proof of life. We can’t find out where she is and whether she’s all right,” says Maryia Kalesnikava’s sister Tatsyana Khomich. The administration of the colony is trying to isolate Kalesnikava in every possible way. She is deprived of correspondence, calls, parcels, and visits of relatives and lawyers, and she is strictly forbidden to communicate with other prisoners. At the same time, it became known from one of the former political prisoners who served their sentences in the same penitentiary institution, that at the end of March 2023, an intensive care vehicle was called for her; this happened after she was isolated from any contact with the outside world. Likewise, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has not heard anything about her imprisoned husband Siarhei Tsikhanousky, a leading opposition activist, since a video with him, filmed in a cell in Zhodinskaya prison, was published a year ago. “From that moment on, neither we, his family, nor the Belarusians know anything about Sergei,” she says, – “His inhuman imprisonment has been going on for more than four years.”

On July 1, the Minsk Regional Court delivered a verdict in the case of “Tsikhanouskaya’s analysts”. 20 people were convicted in absentia. Together, they were sentenced to 206.5 years of imprisonment and 660 thousand euros in fines. The trial of the experts has been going on since January 2024. The name of the case was coined by the Prosecutor General’s Office – it surprises both the experts themselves and Tsikhanouskaya’s Office. Among the defendants in the case are sociologists, journalists, political scientists, and politicians. Heavy fines and seizure of property are imposed on the experts who work directly with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Her political adviser Aliaksandr Dabravolski received the longest sentence – 11,5 years – and a fine of 240 thousand Rubles (about 70 thousand Euro), his apartment in Minsk was arrested. Dzianis Kuchynski, adviser on diplomacy, Aliaksandr Shlyk, election adviser, Anna Krasulina, Tsikhanouskaya’s press secretary, received 11 years each, also with fines and seizure of property. Anna Krasulina was fined 1,6 million Rubles, which is about 450 thousand Euro. To ensure the payment of the fine, her property was seized in Belarus. “My husband’s property and my mother-in-law’s apartment were attributed to me. Of the arrested properties, only my parents’ small shield house in Lahoysk belongs to me,” she noted. All the defendants in the case were found guilty of conspiracy to seize state power unconstitutionally, joining an extremist formation to commit extremist crimes, aiding public calls for actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus and aiding the commission of actions aimed at inciting social hostility and discord based on other social accessories committed by a group of persons. Aliaksandr Dabravolski was also found guilty of leading an “extremist formation” and its structural unit.

On July 4, it became known that the Catholic priest Andrzej Yukhnevich was transferred from a temporary detention center to a pre-trial detention center. This means that a criminal case has been opened against him. Andrzej Yukhnevich was detained on May 8, 2024, and brought to administrative responsibility for posting images of white-red-white and Ukrainian flags on Facebook. He was arrested for 15 days and has not been released since. It is still unknown what crimes he is charged with.

As of July 5, human rights activists know for sure about 18 political prisoners who have been released on July 3. The names of most of them are not disclosed for security reasons. However, it is known that Ryhor Kastusiou, the head of the opposition party “Bialaruski Narodny Front” (Belarusian People’s Front), was released under the amnesty. In 2022, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “conspiracy to seize power.” While he was serving his sentence, 67-year-old Kastusiou was diagnosed with cancer. This April, he underwent surgery. Besides Ryhor Kastusiou, there are four women and 13 more men among those released. Reportedly, some of them were released on amnesty, some on pardon. On July 2, Aliaksandr Lukashenka announced that several seriously ill prisoners would be released soon. On July 3, the amnesty law came into force. The provisions of the law do not apply to “political” charges. According to BYSOL co-founder Andrey Stryzhak, a third of the political prisoners whose release in early July is known were to be released within a month anyway. “The absolute majority of those released are not elderly people with serious illnesses. The information that the sickest and the oldest are being released does not correspond to reality and is part of state propaganda,” he stressed. According to Human Rights Center “Viasna”some political prisoners refused to be released on July 3, disagreeing with the conditions of their release. “This is probably because some of the political prisoners were released on pardon – they had to write a petition addressed to Lukashenka. It is known that initially other political prisoners were offered freedom instead of these people [but refused to sign a petition and stayed in prison],” human rights activists say.

On July 6, a new law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” came into force, which UN experts have already assessed as establishing even greater state control over freedom of conscience and religion. The law provides, among other things, stricter requirements for the registration of religious organizations, such as the presence of communities in each region of the country, an increase in the minimum number of communities from 10 to 15, as well as the presence of at least one community working in the country for at least 30 years. In addition, a ban is being introduced for religious organizations to “engage in political activities”. All religious organizations are required to re-register according to the new law within a one-year period.

On July 2, UN experts urged the Belarusian authorities to pardon or remit the sentence of all imprisoned older persons jailed on political charges. The statement was signed by Anaïs Marin, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, Cecilia M. Bailliet, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, Aua Baldé, Chair-Rapporteur, Gabriella Citroni, Vice-Chair, Grażyna Baranowska, Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez and Angkhana Neelapaijit, members of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Matthew Gillett, Chair, Ganna Yudkivska, Vice-Chair on Communications, Priya Gopalan, Vice-Chair on Follow-Up, Miriam Estrada-Castillo and Mumba Malila members of the  Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Dorothy Estrada Tanck, Chair, Laura Nyirinkindi, Vice-Chair, Claudia Flores, Ivana Krstić, and Haina Lu, members of the Working group on discrimination against women and girls; Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Gina Romero, Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, and Ben Saul, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. The experts received from Belarusian democratic forces a list of 63 persons aged over 60, including 15 women, who are deprived of liberty in Belarus for real or suspected political opposition. Most are serving long prison sentences of up to 25 years, some are detained in pretrial detention, and some have been subjected to compulsory psychiatric care. Several detainees suffer chronic diseases and acute or grave illnesses, and some are persons with disabilities. Three prisoners aged over 60 are reportedly held incommunicado. “According to various sources, inmates who have been included in these lists are submitted to various forms of ill-treatment, including incommunicado detention and denial of prompt and adequate medical care, as well as to restriction on correspondence and money transfers”, the mandate holders said. “One of these detainees, who is 67 years old, has been held incommunicado since February 2023 and may be a victim of an enforced disappearance.” The mandate-holders reiterated the call to Belarus to bring its legislation into compliance with its international obligations and to release all persons unfairly convicted for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, such as the freedom of speech, association, and assembly.

On July 3, the Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić strongly condemned the criminal sentences in absentia against a group of Belarusian experts, journalists, and opposition politicians in the case of “Tsikhanouskaya’s experts”. “Their collective trial on unsubstantiated and spurious charges was conducted in manifest contempt of due process and serves yet another stark reminder of the systematic and widespread human rights violations stemming from the political repressions in the country. Among those arbitrarily sentenced are partners of our organization who share a tireless commitment to our common European values of human rights, the rule of law, and democracy. It is outrageous that Belarusians continue to be unjustly prosecuted and sentenced for peacefully and bravely exercising their rights and even for merely exercising their professional activities. The Council of Europe stands in full solidarity with all political prisoners in Belarus. They must be immediately and unconditionally released and accountability for the suffering inflicted on them must be ensured in line with international law. The Council of Europe will continue to work closely with Belarusian democratic forces, civil society, and independent media and all those who aspire to a free and democratic Belarus,” she stated.

On July 3, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) commented that a verdict sentencing 20 Belarusian experts and analysts in absentia to over a decade of imprisonment for peaceful activities in support of the political opposition is a clear violation of free speech and the right to a fair trial, and should be revoked. “These sentences violate some of Belarus’ most fundamental commitments to respect human rights and the rule of law,” said ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci, – “We are deeply concerned and dismayed by the numerous convictions of civil society leaders and political opposition in recent years. We reiterate our urgent call to the Belarusian authorities to allow the free expression of dissent and release all those who have been unjustly imprisoned.”

On July 04, the EU Spokesperson stated that the EU took note of the release of several political prisoners in Belarus. He, however, underlined that there are still more than 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus, including prisoners without any possibility to communicate with those outside for indefinite periods, with serious health issues, disabilities, over the age of 60, minors, and people with mental illnesses. Some of these detainees require urgent medical assistance and have life-threatening conditions. The EU urged the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

On July 04, the U.S. Embassy in Minsk welcomed the news about the release of some of Belarus’ most vulnerable political prisoners. It reminded that more than 1,400 political prisoners remain unjustly detained and urged their immediate release.

Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braje stressed the need to continue international pressure on the Belarusian regime to achieve the release of all political prisoners. The Minister confirmed Latvia’s continued support for the efforts of the Belarusian opposition to create a free and democratic Belarus in Europe.

On July 4, António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN during his meeting with Aliaksandr Lukashenka on the margins of the SCO summit in Astana, expressed concern about the human rights situation in Belarus. He conveyed his wish that the recent amnesty was a step towards full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus. He also stressed the importance of ending the war in Ukraine, based on the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the territorial integrity of states. Commenting on the meeting, Belarusian Foreign Minister Maksim Ryzhankou claimed that the UN has no complaints against human rights in Belarus and that during the conversation, this topic was not touched upon. “It was said, actually, that there were no complaints against Belarus, that we were going the right way. There was no special case on Belarus in the UN, which today would give Guterres the right to say something to us,” he said.


On July 1, Anatol Hlaz, Spokesperson for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, voiced the official position of the ministry regarding the EU sanctions against Belarus. He said that “attempts of the EU leadership to stop our development” looked “comical” and warned that “illegal decisions on sanctions” would strengthen Belarus even more, while the EU, on the contrary, would be weakened. According to the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Belarus plans to tighten the conditions of import and restrict the work of Western companies in the country in response.

On July 1, at a reception in Moscow, newly appointed head of the Presidential Administration who until 27 June served as the Belarusian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Dzmitry Krutoy, said that all attempts of “opponents” who allegedly “never concealed their goals to violently overthrow the constitutional order, remove the president from power and establish a puppet regime in Belarus” had failed. He found symbolism in the fact that the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from the Nazis “practically coincides with the 30th anniversary of the presidential power in Belarus.” He called Lukashenka “a boulder man-, a legendary man, with whose name Belarus is associated across the globe,” while noting his “incredible modesty.” According to the Belarusian official, Lukashenka ‘s “charisma and unyielding energy” allowed him to “create a new country, preserve and strengthen its sovereignty and independence”. According to him, representatives of other countries “just dream of such a “dictator”.

On July 2, Aliaksandr Lukashenka called Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin his “big brother” as the Russian official arrived in Minsk to participate in official Independence Day events.  Lukashenka complained to Volodin that “the West cannot wait to drag Belarus into a military showdown” to “spread us along this border, make our resistance impossible, and escalate the situation to the point where the whole world will tremble”. Moreover, in his speech on the eve of the holiday, Lukashenka called the leaders of Western countries “ideological and direct heirs of those who capitulated,” who allegedly still believe that “you can grow Nazism somewhere far from your own home and keep this monster on a short leash”.  He added that NATO did not want to end the war in Ukraine and wanted to drag Belarus into the hostilities but assured that he would not allow this to happen. He also said that recently “our neighbors have become very active on the border” and urged not to allow “any escalation and any aggravation,” but noted that in case of aggression against Belarus he “will not draw any red lines” and his response will be “tough and sharp”. At the same time, he “guaranteed” that he would not allow any clashes with Ukraine on the border, as neither country “needs it”. “We will not get involved in any hostilities, because we know where it will lead. But the NATO people need an excuse: the situation on the Ukrainian front is catastrophic, very serious. And there is a constant escalation on the part of the West in response to proposals for peace talks. Today, huge amounts of money are being thrown into Ukraine. I am convinced that the Americans and the West will not leave Ukraine. It is a wonderful bridgehead, a good soil. They have already been mortgaged; they have already been sold. Who will leave from there? But there is nobody left to fight. That is why a serious escalation is needed to bring NATO units there,” Lukashenka said. He also warned that the border fence would not help Poland stop illegal migrants seeking to get to Germany, where they were “invited” and “summoned”; and instructed pro-government journalists to “show the truth about migration flows even more widely”. He once again declared that the Belarusian authorities would not restrain them: “…I do not intend to order border guards, military, and other civilians to protect the EU on the border between Belarus and Poland. You put a cord around our necks and force us to protect you from these poor people”.

On July 3, during his speech at the parade in Minsk, Aliaksandr Lukashenka once again accused Washington of “unleashing the war in Ukraine” and emphasized that less than 5% of the Armed Forces take part in the parade, as the rest “are on combat duty”. According to him, Belarusians “are already calling military enrollment offices by the thousands” to join the army, but it’s “unnecessary, as the existing army is enough.” He noted that the inspection of the joint regional grouping of troops of Belarus and the Russian Federation showed “higher than ever” level of defense capability of the Union State.

Immediately after the parade, Lukashenka flew to Astana to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. At the beginning of the summit, the leaders of the countries signed documents on the completion of the procedure of Belarus’ accession to the SCO as a full member. Considering the specific areas to which Belarus plans to pay more attention, Lukashenka noted the need to “build a genuine and indivisible global security in the 21st century”: “The initiative should be taken by the Global Majority countries since the narcissistic, selfish West has proved incapable of such an endeavor. There are no leaders there today capable of making responsible decisions on their own”.

On July 4, the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Maksim Ryzhankou decided to refute the press service of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who had met with Lukashenka in Astana the day before. The press service reported that Guterres expressed concern about the human rights situation in Belarus. Ryzhankou insists that the UN has no claims to Belarus, while the topic of human rights was not touched upon during the conversation: “A wide range of issues was discussed with the UN Secretary-General. I even saw that someone wrote that we were allegedly reproached by someone about human rights. Almost the entire meeting was devoted to the UN activities in Belarus and the beginning of a new cycle of interaction. It was said that we have no claims to Belarus, you are going the right way. There is no special case on Belarus in the UN, which would give Guterres the right to say something to us, [to make] some claims”.

On July 5, Uladzimir Kupryianiuk, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus, said that there was a “systematic build-up of NATO coalition forces” in the western direction and a “complicated and tense” situation on the southern border. Kupryianiuk expressed the opinion that the presence of Ukrainian special purpose units near the border of Belarus “is nothing but one of the stages of preparation for the possible deployment of sabotage groups to our territory” (for more details, please see the Military Developments section of this Review). As in the previous issue of the Belarus Review, iSANS will continue to monitor the attempts of Belarusian and Russian propagandists to develop the topic of the “possible attack of Ukraine and NATO on Belarus” and promote it among the public.

Best regards,
iSANS team

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