Estonian Foreign Ministry recalled the Ambassador to Belarus Merika Kokaev for consultations, from Minsk she will go to Tallinn on October 8, the press service of the Estonian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
“On October 2nd, Belarus recalled its ambassadors from Poland and Lithuania to Minsk for consultations and forced Poland and Lithuania to take a similar step. In addition, Belarus has demanded a significant reduction in the number of diplomatic missions of both countries in Minsk. As a sign of solidarity with Lithuania and Poland, Estonia decided to withdraw for consultations and its ambassador,” – the message says.
Inviting ambassadors to consultations is a political, not a legal step. It means a temporary departure of the ambassador, but the status of the ambassador, including the right to return to the accredited capital, does not change, the Foreign Ministry said.
On October 2, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus reported that Poland and Lithuania were invited to reduce diplomatic presence in Belarus until October 9 – from 50 to 18 and from 25 to 14 employees, respectively. According to the Ministry, this is due to “openly unfriendly movements” towards Minsk by these two EU countries, which openly interfere in internal affairs and ignore the basic sovereign rights of Belarus.
Earlier the Belarusian authorities had repeatedly stated that protest actions in Belarus were coordinated from abroad. Head of State Alexander Lukashenko accused Western countries of direct interference in the situation in the republic, noting that the unrest is directed by the U.S., while the Europeans are “playing along” with it. Among the countries from which protests are coordinated, Lukashenko called Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Ukraine.
Mass opposition protests began across Belarus on August 9, after the presidential election, in which Lukashenko won for the sixth time – according to the CEC, he received 80.1% of the vote. The authorities officially confirmed the deaths of three protesters. The protests are still going on, the largest ones – on weekends. In addition, there are events of Lukashenko’s supporters, whose inauguration took place on September 23.