Lukashenko Health: Dictator Ill After Meeting Putin, Reports Say

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Getty Lukashenko and Putin.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko fell ill after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an unverified accusation on Twitter by Valery Tsepkalo, a 2020 Belarusian presidential candidate who is leader of the opposition.

“According to preliminary information, subject to further confirmation, #Lukashenko was urgently transported to Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital after his closed-door meeting with #Putin,” Tsepkalo tweeted on May 27, 2023. The tweet has had more than 4 million views.

“Currently, he remains under medical care there. Leading specialists have been mobilized to address his critical condition. Blood purification procedures have been conducted, and Lukashenko’s condition has been deemed non-transportable. The orchestrated efforts to save the Belarusian dictator aimed to dispel speculations regarding Kremlin’s alleged involvement in his poisoning,” he wrote.

To counter Tspepkalo’s tweets, Belarus released photos and videos of Lukashenko, but it’s not clear when they were taken, Independent reported. Lukashenko, 68, is one of Putin’s closest allies, according to CBS News.

According to CNN, Lukashenko, in a Sunday, May 28, 2023, interview on state-run Russia 1, said countries willing “to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus” will be given nuclear weapons. He also recently confirmed that “the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk had begun.”

“It’s very simple,” he said, according to CNN. “Join the Union State of Belarus and Russia. That’s all: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone.”

Here’s what we need to know:

Alexander Lukashenko Recently Told the Public on State TV That He Was ‘Not Going to Die’

According to The Independent, the tweets by Tsepkalo came less than a week after Lukashenko “insisted he was ‘not going to die’ on state TV.” Lukashenko said he had an adenovirus, which is a common cold virus, according to Reuters.

“If someone thinks I am going to die, calm down,” Lukashenko said, according to Reuters. “I’m not going to die, guys. You’ll have to struggle with me for a very long time to come.”

The Independent reported that a series of incidents have increased concerns about Lukashenko’s health. He appeared at Victory Day celebrations in Moscow’s Red Square on 9 May with a bandage on his right hand and looked unsteady on his feet,” and later missed a lunch hosted by Putin, Independent reported.

He then failed to address the “annual celebration of National Flag, Emblem, and Anthem Day,” which he normally does, Independent reported.

“Irrespective of whether he recovers or not, doctors caution about the possibility of relapses. As representatives of the Belarus Democratic Forum of the Republic of Belarus, we earnestly urge Western leaders to convene a strategic session in the coming days to discuss the ‘Elections’ initiative and other measures that should be undertaken in order to secure the transitional period,” the opposition leader continued.

He wrote:

We firmly assert that the existing technologies are adequate for conducting fair and transparent elections in Belarus in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without direct interference from the Kremlin. By doing so, we will establish a legitimate institution in the eyes of all Belarusians and the global community at large. Holding elections during such a critical juncture will not only help restore law and order in the future Belarus but also lay the groundwork for stabilizing the situation on the borders of the European Union and the world.

Valery Tsepkalo Accused Alexander Lukashenko of Spending Several Days in a Moscow Hospital

In a tweet on May 29, 2023, Tsepkalo made additional accusations. He wrote:

According to our information, #Lukashenko spent several days in the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow. Rehabilitation was carried out. The last available information about Lukashenko’s condition and stay in the hospital was on Saturday. It is known that doctors prohibited him to fly by airplane. There is no information how, when and if he was delivered to Minsk, as the doctors signed the nondisclosure paper.

There was no official information regarding his state of health for three days. The Soviet leaders such as Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko and later President Yeltsin were put on their feet by Kremlin medics for TV cameras.

We can not be distracted by Lukashenko’s temporary appearance. The issue of power transit is a matter of months, if not weeks.
Frequent relapses and emergency hospitalization only emphasize the need for an urgent strategic session of democratic forces with the participation of the EU, USA and other stakeholders. The focus should be on the strategy to work out the concepts of transitional period and new elections.

I ask President of the European Commission @vonderleyen, President of the @EUCouncil @CharlesMichel to arrange an emergency summit on Belarus. I ask EU leaders @bundeskanzler, @emmanuelmacron, @morawieckim and others to support the summit in order to develop the joint plan of actions.

He also accused the Kremlin of initiating a “cover up” operation “through spreading information about a scheduled medical examination of #Lukashenko, although it is no secret that he has made for himself the most advanced diagnostic equipment in his private clinic at the amount of 100 million euros.”

The tweet continued: “In order to conceal the urgent hospitalization his plane was sent to Minsk without him and not to wait for him at the airport. Clearly, a person who purchased an aircraft with a gilded toilet inside doesn’t care about airport parking fees.”

Tsepkalo said that “the first signs of illness” emerged on May 9, 2023, and Lukashenko “hastily flew to #Minsk because he did not trust any surgical intervention in #Moscow. According to reliable information, this time, after the emergency hospitalization, doctors warned him that he simply wouldn’t be able to make it alive if he would fly by an airplane.”

The opposition leader noted:

It’s evident that the Kremlin fears speculation regarding its involvement in his deteriorating health. The best doctors from across Moscow were gathered, and they were bluntly told by the special services, ‘if he dies, we all go down with him…’

The Kremlin was aware of Lukashenko’s poor health condition. It is possible that this is linked to the beginning of the political field cleansing in Belarus. The process of eliminating those who may pose a threat to a ‘managed political transition,’ as seen in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, is already underway.

In April 2023, Tspekalo “received a 17-year prison sentence in absentia Friday on charges that included forming an extremist group and discrediting Belarus,” the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that he fled to Russia in 2020 “after the Central Election Commission barred him and eight other candidates from challenging Lukashenko in a presidential election that year” and then moved “to Ukraine, Latvia and Greece.”

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