Belarus: embattled Lukashenko flies to Sochi for Putin talks

Meeting could be crucial in determining if Belarusian president can weather protests

The embattled Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, is due to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in talks that could be crucial in determining whether or not he survives an ongoing protest movement against him.

Lukashenko’s plane took off from Minsk on Monday morning, and he is due in Sochi, the Black Sea resort where Putin has a residence, for talks in the afternoon. The visit comes a day after Lukashenko’s riot police struggled to deal with another huge rally in Minsk and other cities, in which water cannon was used against protesters. On Monday morning, the country’s interior ministry said 774 people had been detained on Sunday, including more than 500 in Minsk.

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