Belarus State Media Release a Photo of Lukashenko Amid Ill Health Rumors

Amid swirling rumors in regards to the well being of President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus, state information media on Monday launched pictures of him, an obvious try and tamp down hypothesis that he was critically unwell.

Mr. Lukashenko, a key Kremlin ally who normally receives fawning day by day protection from state-controlled information media that includes pictures and movies, had not been proven since final Tuesday, when he attended occasions in Moscow and the Belarusian capital, Minsk, celebrating the Soviet Union’s conquer Nazi Germany in 1945.

He skipped an annual ceremony on Sunday in Minsk for Belarus’s flag day, an occasion at which he normally speaks, leaving his prime minister to learn an announcement.

Europe’s longest serving chief and an avid sportsman, Mr. Lukashenko, 68, has since 1994 dominated Belarus, a former Soviet republic that relies on Moscow for monetary assist and safety help, with a agency grip. Up to now he has relished displaying off his strong good well being in public by rollerblading, enjoying ice hockey, and giving lengthy speeches open air, whatever the climate.

However the official Belarusian information company, Belta, and state tv had for the previous week recycled previous pictures and movie clips of him.

Ukrainian officers and media fed a swirl of gleeful rumors across the well being of Mr. Lukashenko, who’s extensively reviled in Ukraine for permitting Russia to make use of Belarus, which borders each nations, as a staging floor for its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

An opposition information outlet, Euroradio, reported that Mr. Lukashenko had been taken by motorcade to a Minsk clinic on Saturday, however the nation has not formally commented on his well being.

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In what might be essentially the most conclusive signal that he was unwell, although maybe not gravely, Russia’s tightly managed information media — which not often touch upon leaders’ well being — have in current days reported that Mr. Lukashenko is unwell, citing Konstantin Zatulin, a senior Russian legislator who works intently with Belarus and different former Soviet republics.

Mr. Zatulin was quoted as saying of Mr. Lukashenko that “he simply obtained sick however it’s not Covid.” He gave no particulars and downplayed the severity of Mr. Lukashenko’s situation.

On Monday, Belta mentioned that Mr. Lukashenko visited an air drive command submit and printed what it mentioned have been pictures of the chief that day. It was not instantly attainable to independently affirm whether or not the pictures have been taken on Monday.

The extraordinary secrecy of closed international locations like Belarus and Russia permits wild rumors about their leaders to take flight. As an example, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is frequently rumored to have a number of deadly ailments.

The secrecy additionally makes it tough to clarify the deaths of apparently wholesome officers, like Vladimir Makei, the veteran Belarusian overseas minister whose sudden dying in November set off feverish hypothesis of attainable foul play.

Nataliia Novosolova and Riley Mellen contributed reporting.

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