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Putin Says 'External Pressure' On Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova 'Unacceptable'

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting via video conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on November 10.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said "attempts to exert foreign pressure" in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova are "unacceptable."

Opening an online summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on November 10, Putin said that Belarus was "under pressure from external forces."

Mass protests in Belarus demanding the departure of Alyaksandr Lukashenka have gone on for the past three months after electoral officials handed him a landslide victory in the August 9 presidential poll that the opposition and the West say was rigged.

Moscow has backed Lukashenka in the ongoing standoff, marred by a violent crackdown on protesters.

"After the presidential election held in their country, our Belarusian friends are experiencing unprecedented pressure, stand against sanctions and provocations unleashed on them through an information and propaganda war," Putin said, adding that "the people of Belarus must solve their problems themselves without anyone's interference."

Lukashenka has said publicly that EU states are behind the ongoing protests.

Putin also said that two other former Soviet republics, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, are also experiencing "outer pressure."

In Kyrgyzstan, mass protests over results of parliamentary elections ousted the government and parliament speaker and caused a deep political crisis that led to the resignation of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov last month.

In Moldova, pro-European presidential candidate Maia Sandu won a surprise victory in the first round of a presidential election on November 1 that now heads to a runoff against Moscow-backed incumbent Igor Dodon.

Putin also said that the Moscow-brokered cease-fire in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh will pave the way for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan and stability in the South Caucasus.

Putin added that the SCO summit will adopt a joint statement on measures to curb coronavirus pandemic.

The SCO comprises China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia have observer status in the organization, while Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka are SCO dialogue partners.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax