Moscow is alarmed by Western attempts to profit from Belarus’ internal difficulties and believes its neighbor should be left alone, according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who accused the EU of being driven by geopolitics.
Speaking to TV channel Russia-1, Lavrov called on Belarusians to sort out their own affairs and reject the notion of having to side with either Russia or the European Union. He added that members of the bloc weren’t genuinely interested in human rights or democracy, but, instead, a desire to pull Minsk into their orbit.
“We are concerned about [foreign] attempts to use the internal difficulties that Belarus, the Belarusian people, and the Belarusian leadership are currently facing,” said the foreign minister, highlighting that outside forces are attempting to interfere with the country in order to impose a situation that could be profitable for them, but not for Belarusians.
Focusing on statements from EU members, Lavrov suggested that Western countries want to impose their own rules across the continent and in other parts of the world too.
“What we are now hearing from European capitals – first from the Baltics, and then from Poland, and the European Parliament – is not about [Belarusian President] Alexander Lukashenko, human rights and democracy, but all about geopolitics,” Lavrov explained.
Russia’s chief diplomat called on Belarusians to sort out their issues independently and to reject the idea that the country has to choose between partnering with Russia and partnering with Europe. He expressed the hope that the country’s citizens will not be led by those who need Belarus for purely selfish reasons.
The Russian official noted that the Belarusian elections were not “perfect,” but clarified that the Belarusian leadership was well aware of that and its authorities are “trying to enter into dialogue with citizens protesting against what they consider an infringement of their rights.”
On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov offered a similar opinion, explaining that Russia believes “Belarus is quite able to find a way out of this situation on its own.”
Belarus’s President Lukashenko also warned Western countries to stay away, urging EU politicians to instead take a look in their own backyards. “Instead of pointing the finger at us, they should discuss the yellow vests movement in France, the terrible riots in the USA,” Lukashenko said. “Do not point at Belarus in order to draw attention away from the issues in France, the USA, Germany, and so on.”