Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has expressed concerns over the Belarusian government's potential use of violence against the opposition during this week's presidential election and after it.
On Monday, Linkevičius had a phone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei. According to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conversation took place at Lithuania's initiative.
“We are very concerned about the government's potential violence and excessive use of force against the opposition during the election and after it,” Linkevičius said in a statement.
He also expressed criticism of the planned launch of the Astravyets nuclear power plant.
“We also take a negative view of the planned launch of the Astravyets nuclear power plant. Our information makes us conclude that the launch is hastened without taking security requirement into account,” the Lithuanian foreign minister said.
Belarus' independence is important for Lithuania, according to Linkevičius, therefore, “we will help maintain it both at the international level and through bilateral relations”.
Having ruled Belarus for almost three decades, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, 65, will try to secure a new five-year term on Sunday amid public dissatisfaction with his governance.
The Lukashenko government has launched a crackdown on the opposition as the election day approaches.