Biden plays president, demands Russia fall in line on Belarus

Joe Biden may be an uncertain election away from becoming president, but he’s already tweeting like one. Following an entirely predictable script, Biden demanded that Russia “be told not to interfere” in Belarus’ affairs.

“The brave citizens of Belarus are showing their voices will not be silenced by terror or torture,” Biden tweeted on Wednesday. “The U.S. should support Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s call for fair elections. Russia must be told not to interfere—this is not about geopolitics but the right to choose one’s leaders.”

His tweet comes nearly two weeks after Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko won re-election in a vote opponents say was fraudulent. Among those calling for fresh elections are Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Lithuania last week and is now demanding a rerun while pledging to “act as a national leader,” should Lukashenko’s win be nullified.

As for “choosing one’s leaders,” Washington and the EU have made it clear that they favor Tikhanovskaya, and have refused to accept Lukashenko’s supposed victory. EU leaders have agreed to impose targeted sanctions on the Belarusian authorities, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for increased political freedom in Belarus.

Russia, which forms a Union State with Belarus, has accused the West of interfering in the country’s affairs. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged Lukashenko and the opposition to sort out their disagreements internally, and accused the West of hiding its geopolitical ambition behind talk of “human rights and democracy.”

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