‘Navalny’s poisoning is hoax’. Belarus intel taps Berlin-Warsaw talk, Lukashenka says

Belarusian electronic warfare specialists intercepted an ‘interesting’ conversation between representatives of Poland and Germany, Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed at Thursday meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Minsk.

The Belarusian incumbent promised Mishustin that the transcript of the recording would be forwarded to him. According to Lukashenka, the conversation wears down Berlin’s report about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s being poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent.

“I have noticed that they in the West came up with a new gimmick. It is again Novichok, again poisoning. I should tell you that yesterday or the day before yesterday, I do not remember exactly, before Merkel made a statement saying that it was an attempt to silence Navalny, we had intercepted a conversation. As far as we understood, it was Warsaw talking to Berlin. Two people were speaking <…> This conversation clearly suggests that it was a hoax. Navalny was not poisoned,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

Lukashenka believes that a group of Western experts could have intentionally provided Angela Merkel’s office with fake information and falsified the statement made by her; they aimed to discourage Vladimir Putin from ‘poking his nose into the affairs of Belarus’, he said stressing he was just quoting the above conversation.

However, the Belarusian leader did not give names of the officials who were allegedly discussing the would-be fake; he said all the materials would be sent to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB)

The meeting has taken place amid growing tension in Belarus. For over three weeks, post-election protests have been underway in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as propaganda on state-run TV stations.

In mid August, Lukashenka said that Russia would lend assistance if Belarus asked for providing security in the event of ‘external military threats’.

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