Belarus’s president Alexander Lukashenko has skipped a key state celebration, sparking hypothesis that the chief is critically unwell as he has remained lacking from the general public eye since final week.
The 68-year-old chief, who usually marks the annual celebration of Nationwide Flag, Emblem and Anthem Day by addressing the general public, remained lacking from the occasion on Sunday, along with his prime minister studying a message on his behalf.
The autocratic chief of Belarus was final seen in public on 9 Might, throughout Victory Day celebrations in Moscow.
This was the primary time Mr Lukashenko didn’t communicate on the occasion in Minsk that marks the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Second World Warfare victory over Germany.
In keeping with state information company BelTA, prime minister Roman Golovchenko learn a message from Mr Lukashenko throughout the annual ceremony the place younger individuals swear allegiance to the ex-Soviet state’s flag.
It gave no cause for the president’s absence and Mr Lukashenko’s workplace declined to remark.
Confirming info of Mr Lukashenko’s sickness, a senior chief of the Russian parliament instructed an outlet that he was sick, however doesn’t have Covid.
Konstantin Zatulin, a senior member of the Duma decrease home of parliament, instructed Russian on-line publication Podyom that “[Lukashenko] has merely fallen unwell… and doubtless wants a relaxation”.
Opposition Belarusian outlet Euroradio stated Mr Lukashenko was taken to a presidential medical centre in Minsk on Saturday evening. The knowledge, nonetheless, is but to be confirmed.
The president, who’s a detailed ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, travelled to Moscow on 9 Might for the Victory Day parade the place he appeared visibly drained and sported a bandage on his hand, according to a report.
He swiftly left after the parade and skipped lunch with Mr Putin earlier than laying flowers within the capital Minsk following his arrival.
Mr Lukashenko is commonly referred to as the final dictator of Europe and has dominated Belarus since 1994.
The chief is understood to crack down on dissenting voices by utilizing pressure to place down protests, whereas courts have closed dissident media shops and imposed lengthy jail phrases on opponents. Activists have fled the nation en masse.
Unconfirmed reviews and rumours declare Mr Lukashenko may get paralysis with no again surgical procedure within the West, the place he’s unable to journey due to sanctions by Western nations.
In 2020, plenty of nations, together with the UK and the European Union, positioned sanctions on the chief over allegations of vote rigging in presidential elections and a subsequent crackdown on protests.
Mass anti-government protests broke out after he proclaimed himself because the landslide winner of presidential elections that the opposition denounced as rigged. The Central Election Fee declared Mr Lukashenko had received greater than 81 per cent of the vote.
Hundreds of protesters had been arrested and brutally crushed by police and Belarusian KGB safety service brokers, whereas Mr Lukashenko managed to remain in energy with backing from Russia.