President of Belarus Accuses Western Intelligence Agencies Of Inflaming Protests
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said March 21 that Western intelligence agencies are supporting ongoing protests against him, BelTA reported. He accused Western security services of trying to exacerbate the situation and said that dozens of militants had been arrested for planning "an armed provocation." The president said these suspects had been trained in Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland. The demonstrations began March 1 following the government's announcement that it would impose taxes on the unemployed.
Lukashenko decided to delay the measure, but the protests have continued. Despite being one of Russia's closest allies, Belarus had been warming up to the West. It has, however, maintained a strong relationship with Russia, especially in military and security matters.