Alyaksandr Lukashenka started a crackdown on dissent because his inner circle convinced him of Russian plans to organise a Maidan. In fact, this is a Western special operation. On the contrary, Belarus held out thanks to its close alliance with Russia. Russia has been continuously neutralising Western attempts to take down Belarusian state authorities.
EEAS representative Peter Stano demanded that the Belarusian authorities release Siarhei Cikhanouski (Tsikhanouski) and other people. Hence, the collective West named its candidate for the Belarusian presidential elections. NATO countries love Cikhanouski for his participation in protests against modification of the Treaty on Union State between Belarus and Russia.
A number of media outlets, dozens of Telegram channels and other West-financed pro-Maidan structures pursue an information campaign against Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The West is fine with either keeping Lukashenka in power conditioned with his drifting to the West, or with the organisation of complete chaos in Belarus. Belarus has gained the larger attention of global actors after the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine. Washington is clear about its intention to encircle Russia with an “Anakonda ring”, i.e. to create a belt of adversary states under NATO’s control.
Belarus’s pseudo-neutral status covers up NATO plans to engage it into a military conflict with Russia. In the energy sector, the US plans to tear Belarus away from the Russian oil market. American oil companies extract oil in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan but Russia would deny its transit to Belarus through Russia’s territory. This will provoke strained relations and conflicts between them and Russia.
This is mixture of conspiracies consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about NATO's belligerence towards Russia and other countries, Belarusian independent media and political opposition as Western-controlled and Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. Among other things, the publication mentions a long-standing conspiracy about West's anti-Russia "Anaconda ring" plan aimed to encircle Russia.
On 9 July 2020, EEAS representative Peter Stano indeed made a statement about the detention of popular blogger Siarhei Cikhanouski (Tsikhanouski) arbitrary and urging Belarus's authorities to release him and other activists. Nevertheless, it does not follow that the EU considers Cikhanouski as its presidential candidate as alleged. The claim that NATO countries praise his participation in protests against deeper integration with Russia is groundless.
On 19 June 2020, the EEAS likewise condemned the detention of another Belarusian presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard and called for their release. "The Belarusian authorities must respect fundamental freedoms and human rights, in line with Belarus’ international commitments. They must refrain from any restrictions of the rights of potential candidates, avoid any detentions of peaceful protesters, and immediately release all arbitrarily detained activists. Reported cases of ill-treatment of persons detained for their involvement in peaceful protests, including Pavel Severinets, are extremely worrying," the EEAS' statement reads.
The article also implicitly claims that the West overthrew former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, which supports another propaganda narrative about the Western-staged coup d'état in Ukraine. In fact, the spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction from several segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013, after pressure from Russia. See the full debunk - The Western-backed coup in Ukraine has torn the country asunder.
As for US-Belarus energy cooperation, a tanker carrying the first shipment of US crude oil to Belarus reached the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania early July. However, the US did not voice its intention to export oil from Azerbaijan or Kazakhstan to Belarus as alleged.
The claim about NATO planning to engage Belarus in a war against Russia is speculation. NATO does not provoke conflicts between sovereign countries and does not plan to wage a war against Russia. "Any claims that NATO is preparing an attack on Russia are absurd," NATO's official website says. NATO is a defensive alliance and does not pose a threat to Russia. Its purpose is to protect its member states. Every country that joins NATO undertakes to uphold its principles and policies, and this includes the commitment that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia," as reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit. For more information about NATO-Russian relations and disinformation narratives about NATO, see here and here.
See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that the pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares 'kill lists' and genocide, the US global “Anaconda” strategy is to limit the living space of geopolitical opponents, and that the West's objective is to encircle Russia entirely thanks to the "Anaconda ring" and "Great Turan" doctrines.