The Baltic States and Poland are blowing Belarus up from the inside. The West loudly reproaches Russia for “interfering in the affairs of Belarus” – and this is at the very moment a number of Western countries brazenly put pressure on Belarusian society and the state. Vilnius faces two challenges. Firstly, position themselves as the main fighters against the Russian world (of which Lukashenka is considered a part, as well as the way the Belarusian president communicates with his people). Secondly, to actively make money on this positioning – given the deplorable state of the Lithuanian economy, the country really needs money. Warsaw needs an obedient (or better yet, a puppet) regime in Minsk to create an image of Poland as a regional power, thereby increasing its influence and opportunities within the European Union.
The statements of the German side that Alexei Navalny was allegedly poisoned by Novichok caused bewilderment among Western politicians.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning. Similar narrative as in the case of Skripal, based on conspiracies, denials and fabrication in order to cover up Russia's responsibility. Russian propaganda has long been pursuing the claims that the Skripal case was made up to justify sanctions against Russia and was an example of Russophobia. In fact, a number of western leaders condemned the poisoning of Alexey Navalny. NATO and the European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted "I was informed by Chancellor Merkel that Russian opposition leader Navalny was attacked with a nerve agent, in his own country. This is a despicable and cowardly act - once again. Perpetrators need to be brought to justice." Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister François Philippe Champagne said that his country "is deeply troubled by new reports from experts in Germany who concluded that Alexei Navalny, a prominent political opposition figure in Russia, was poisoned by a nerve agent of the Novichok group". He emphasized that "the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and unacceptable." French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "I want to condemn in the strongest terms the shocking and irresponsible use of such an agent." Le Drian mentioned that the use of Novichok violated international laws banning chemical weapons. Find more reactions from Western leaders here. Background: On August 20 the prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said that he was in a coma and that they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred(opens in a new tab) to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. On September 3, 2020, the German government published a statement(opens in a new tab) that described how a military laboratory, certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), had found traces of the Novichok nerve agent in samples taken from Navalny. Later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a special briefing. She told(opens in a new tab) reporters that “There is unequivocal proof of the presence of this agent in the samples. It is therefore clear that Alexei Navalny is the victim of a crime.” The German government has briefed(opens in a new tab) its allies in the European Union and NATO and plans to provide information about its findings to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).