Belarus president Lukashenko, close ally of Russia’s Putin, to visit China

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will visit China on February 28 for a state visit, the Chinese foreign ministry said Saturday.

Lukashenko is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has backed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with Belarus dependent on its neighbor both financially and politically.

“At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will pay a state visit to China from February 28 to March 2,” spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik that Beijing is willing to work with Minsk to deepen mutual political trust during a phone conversation on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

China will also continue to support Belarus in maintaining its national stability, and will oppose attempts by “external forces” to interfere in its internal affairs or impose “illegal” unilateral sanctions on Minsk, Qin told Aleinik.

In September last year, Xi and Lukashenko announced an “all-weather” strategic partnership, when the two met in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.

Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine and Russia, allowed Moscow to use its territory to launch its attack on Ukraine last year.

Kyiv has expressed concerns that Belarus could again support Moscow in its war effort.

On Friday, China released a 12-point position paper on the conflict calling for urgent peace talks and a “political settlement” to the Ukraine crisis.

Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the paper urges all parties to “support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible.”

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