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Belarus: Lukashenka Threatens 'Unfriendly' Russian Media

Moscow, 21 June 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka today slammed Russian media, which he accused of biased coverage of the situation in his country. Speaking to reporters before departing from Moscow after a two-day visit, Lukashenka said some media are describing political events in Belarus "in an uncivilized and ugly way." Lukashenka, who will seek re-election on September 9, also threatened to retaliate against "unfriendly" media outlets.

"I will tell you frankly. Even if there are much more provocations from the part of the Russian media, we will not take any action before the election. But after the election we will draw the necessary conclusions and decide who should work in Belarus, which television channels should work in Belarus."

Earlier this year, Russian state-run ORT television channel aired programs featuring five potential candidates from the Belarus opposition.

Lukashenka denied today that he had come to the Russian capital to seek President Vladimir Putin's endorsement of his bid for re-election.