Russia accuses U.S. of promoting revolution in Belarus

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He accused Washington of funding anti-government bloggers and training activists through NGOs and of backing others including opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya who fled the country for Lithuania amid a police crackdown.

“According to the SVR’s information, the United States is playing a key role in Belarus,” he said.

Russia has long blamed the West for revolutions such as Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution, Ukraine’s 2003-04 Orange Revolution in which Russia said the West backed the protesters.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu flew into Minsk on Wednesday and held talks with Lukashenko, who said he had asked Putin to supply Belarus with several types of weapon. He did not specify which weapons he had requested from Putin.

Russia and Belarus are currently holding joint military drills that run until late September. Lukashenko said the two countries should plan more drills of the same kind.

Moscow is a close ally that sees Belarus as a buffer against NATO and a vital export corridor for its oil. But that support belies an awkward personal relationship between Putin and Lukashenko, who for years has played Russia off against the West in order to extract political gain from the Kremlin.

Echoing Naryshkin’s comments, Lukashenko accused the United States of partnering with Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Ukraine to target his government.

“The tactics of the organizers were based on the classic American textbook of color revolutions,” he said. (Additional reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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