Protesters with old Belarusian national flags gather in front of a riot police line during a Belarusian opposition supporters’ rally protesting the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. Protests calling for the Belarusian president’s resignation have broken out daily since the Aug. 9 presidential election that officials say handed him a sixth term in office. ( via AP)

SOCHI, September 14. /TASS/. It is up to Belarusian nationals to normalize the situation in their country without any pressure from outside, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday at talks with his visiting Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko.

“Our position is that Belarusians should handle this situation on their own, via calm dialogue and without hints and pressure from outside, and arrive at a common solution,” he said.

The Russian leader once again congratulated Lukashenko on winning the August 9 presidential polls. “I would like to wish you all the good, wish all the success,” Putin said.

Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.

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