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Britain recalls ambassador to Belarus, adding pressure on Lukashenko

Dpa

London – Britain recalled its ambassador to Belarus on Saturday, as international pressure mounts on the authoritarian president of the former Soviet republic, Alexander Lukashenko, following disputed elections two months ago.

The move to recall Jacqueline Perkins comes after Poland and Lithuania, two countries that have taken in opposition figures fleeing Belarus, removed their own envoys and other officials under pressure from the leadership in Minsk.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during a meeting with the country's political activists in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain “condemns Belarus’ decision to expel Polish and Lithuanian diplomats.”

“In solidarity, we are temporarily recalling our ambassador for consultations on the situation in Belarus,” he wrote on Twitter.

Several other EU countries have already recalled their own ambassadors.

Poland and Lithuania have served as a refuge for Belarusian dissidents forced out of the country because they protested the Aug. 9 presidential election, which brought a widely contested victory for long-time leader Lukashenko.

Lithuania is the new home to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who came second to Lukashenko, according to the disputed official tally. Her supporters argue she is the actual winner.