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Lavrov: Macedonia Protests Orchestrated From Outside

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the crisis in Macedonia has been orchestrated from the outside.

"This really alarms us," Lavrov said. "The events in Macedonia are blatantly controlled from the outside."

He said these events were connected to Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s refusal to join the sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

In Macedonia's capital, Skopje, some 150 opposition supporters calling for Gruevski to resign were still camped in front of the prime minister's offices on May 20, as Gruevski and opposition leader Zoran Zaev negotiated through the night in Strasbourg in a bid to defuse the crisis.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators attended an antigovernment rally in Skopje on May 17, and a huge rally was held the following day by Gruevski’s supporters.

The antigovernment protests followed the release of recordings which appear to show ministers plotting vote-rigging.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS

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