Belarus appoints new ambassador to Russia

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Belarus has appointed a new ambassador to Russia, state news agencies reported on Friday, as Moscow and Minsk continue to forge closer ties amid their mounting isolation from the West.

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Moscow is Belarus’ key backer and the two sides - officially part of a borderless “Union State” - have accelerated integration talks in recent years after both were hit with Western sanctions.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on protesters and the opposition after a disputed 2020 presidential election pushed Minsk further into Moscow’s arms, and he allowed Russia to use Belarusian territory as one of the launchpads for its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Lukashenko said the two leaders had agreed to appoint Dmitry Krutoi as Minsk’s new envoy to Moscow, the Belta state news agency reported, citing Lukashenko’s press office.

Krutoi was deputy head of Belarus' presidential administration and was previously involved in integration projects with Russia - a broad list of policy areas the two countries have agreed to move closer together on.

Krutoi replaces Vladimir Semashko, a veteran Belarusian diplomat who had been ambassador to Russia since 2018.

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