Days after the puzzling announcement that he’s been fighting Covid-19 without leaving his post, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko told a Ukrainian journalist that someone had intentionally infected him with the virus.
The extraordinary claim appeared in the 2.5-hour-long interview Lukashenko gave to the popular Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon.
We’re leaning towards [the version] that someone planted the coronavirus on me. I’m now looking into when it might’ve happened.
Lukashenko added that he won’t name his suggestions publicly for now.
The president also revealed that he ignored doctor’s pleas to seek treatment when signs of the coronavirus have been discovered on his scans, and instead pressed on with his schedule. Lukashenko claimed that doctors had him fully back on his feet in just “four days.”
Lukashenko had earlier told the media he’d had an asymptomatic case of Covid-19 and had successfully recovered from it. He claimed he’d coped with the virus “on the go.”
In the same interview, the president dramatically said “they may shoot me dead, but I will never run [from Belarus].”
Lukashenko is currently trying to get re-elected for his sixth term as president amid domestic turmoil. Two of the opposition figures who wanted to run against him are currently jailed, and another has fled the country, claiming he feared for his freedom. Belarus has also seen what many observers called the biggest anti-government protest in a decade ahead of the poll, which is scheduled for Sunday.
The long-time president has repeatedly claimed that his opponents have been hatching a plan to oust him by force with the backing of a foreign power. The narrative was reinforced recently by the arrest of people whom the Belarus authorities claimed were “Russian mercenaries” tasked with destabilizing the nation ahead of the national poll. The arrest is one of several sore points in Moscow-Minsk relations at the moment.
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