Two ex-Soviet neighbors meet for talks on closer ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to host his Belarusian counterpart on Thursday for talks on closer integration between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.

The meeting follows allegations of a failed plot to assassinate Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, allegedly involving a blockade of the country’s capital, power cuts and cyberattacks. Belarusian and Russian security agencies arrested the alleged coup plotters in Moscow earlier this month.

Lukashenko has grown increasingly dependent on Russia’s financial and political support after months of massive protests against his rule, and his visit to Moscow raised expectations that he could accept the Kremlin’s push for a stronger union. He fueled such speculation over the weekend when he declared that he was preparing to make one of the most important decisions of his more than quarter-century rule.

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Source: Associated Press – VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

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