Trump must tell Putin to stay out of Belarus, says his former national security adviser John Bolton

Trump must tell Putin to stay out of Belarus, says his former national security adviser John Bolton
Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images
  • There is growing concern in the West that Russia could intefere in Belarus to help Alexander Lukashenko.
  • Putin and the under-fire Belarusian president spoke twice over the weekend.
  • Lukashenko's controversial re-election last week sparked historic protests across the country.
  • Trump's former security adviser John Bolton urged Trump to tell Putin to stay out of Belarus.
  • An unnamed White House official said Russia must respect Belarus sovereignty.
  • EU leaders have warned the Kremlin not to intervene.

President Donald Trump must tell Vladimir Putin to "stay out of Belarus," according to his former national security adviser John Bolton, as fears grow in the West that Russia could intervene to assist under-fire president President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus, which borders Russia, is in the midst of political upheaval with thousands of people protesting in the streets against the recent re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Demonstrations broke out last week after Lukashenko's office declared him the winner of this months' presidential election, which the US, UK, European Union, and other Western governments condemned as fraudulent and rigged.

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, is refusing to stand down despite nationwide protests and strikes, telling workers at a state-owned factory on Monday that there would be no new elections until "you kill me."

There is growing fear in the West that a desperate Lukashenko might receive assistance from Russia if President Putin feels his sphere of influence is under threat.


Putin and Lukashenko spoke twice over the weekend, the BBC reported, with a Kremlin saying the pair discussed "the situation in Belarus, taking into consideration the pressure the republic was being put under from outside."

Putin said he was ready to help Lukashenko "in accordance with the collective military pact if necessary," it added.

Bolton, who served as Trump's national security adviser from 2018 to 2019, on Monday tweeted: "The prospect of Russian intervention in Belarus is growing as Soviet holdover Lukashenko struggles to hold power. President Trump should make it clear that Vladimir Putin must stay out of Belarus — and out of our elections as well!"

Trump has described the events in Belarus as a "terrible situation."

However, an unnamed senior official in the White House went further, telling Reuters that Putin "must respect" Belarus' sovereignty.


"The massive number of Belarusians peacefully protesting make clear that the government can no longer ignore their calls for democracy," they said.

"President Lukashenko's remarks today reflect this realization, though power sharing still does not address the lack of free and fair elections."

"Russia must also respect Belarus' sovereignty and the right of its people to freely and fairly elect their own leaders."

Ahead of a meeting of EU leaders on Wednesday, European Council President Charles Michel appeared to issue a warning to the Kremlin, declaring "there should be no outside interference" in Belarus.

A joint-statement by five groupings in the EU's European Parliament went as far as naming Russia.


"We call on the Russian Federation to refrain from any interference, covert or overt, in Belarus following the election, and call on EU institutions and Member States to vigilantly counter any Russian actions in this regard," they said.