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Russian, Belarusian Foreign Ministers To Hold Talks In Moscow On September 2

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makey in Moscow in November 2019.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold talks with his Belarusian counterpart Uladzimer Makey in Moscow on September 2, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on August 31.

The meeting comes amid three weeks of mass protests against the rule of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka following disputed presidential elections on August 9 that handed him another six-year term.

The protests represent the biggest challenge to Lukashenka since he came to power 26 years ago and the 66-year-old has turned to his nation's traditional ally, Russia, for support.

The Kremlin announced over the weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenka had agreed to meet in Moscow in the coming weeks. The two leaders have spoken over the phone several times since the protests began.

Western leaders, on the other hand, have criticized the election and the police crackdown on protesters. They have called on Lukashenka to negotiate with the protesters and threatened to impose sanctions on members of his government.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax