Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Surikov on June 11 made it clear that Moscow would support incumbent Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the country’s forthcoming presidential election.
"We don’t see others in this field," the ambassador said at a news conference held in Minsk on Friday. "We traditionally support Alyaksandr Ryhoravich [Lukashenka]," Mr. Surikov said. "We don’t allow ourselves to make critical remarks about Belarus. And we ask a similar attitude toward us."
The ambassador said that Mr. Lukashenka was not a pro-Russian politician despite Moscow’s support. "We understand that Alyaksandr Ryhoravich is the president of Belarus, a sovereign and independent state, and he cannot be pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian."
Mr. Surikov denied that the Kremlin also supported some opposition groups in Belarus. "I do not rule out that Belarusian oppositionists travel to Moscow and visit some parties," he said. "We have opposition parties, too. But we don’t support this officially."
When asked to comment on the rumor that activists linked to the "Tell the Truth!" campaign were funded by Russia, he said, "I can confirm that it is not true in respect to Russia’s participation in activities of the Belarusian opposition."