Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei died suddenly just days before an important meeting with Russia.
Makei originally vowed that his nation – widely seen as a controlled puppet regime – would not allow Vladimir Putin’s troops to use it as a staging area for an attack on Ukraine.
He had also openly criticized Putin’s country – and had already tried in 2020 to improve Belarus’ relations with the West.
But he was quickly overwhelmed by Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus’ leader known as “Europe’s last dictator” and a henchman of Vlad.
Makei was pronounced dead just days before he met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
Belarus confirmed his death but did not elaborate further on the circumstances – something that will definitely raise eyebrows.
“Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei died suddenly,” the state-run Belta reported on Saturday.
Makei – who had served in his post for 10 years – attended a conference of the Collective Security Treaty Organization – a military alliance of several post-Soviet states – in Yerevan earlier this week.
He was due to meet with Lavrov on Monday.
Before massive protests in 2020, the foreign minister tried to warm up relations with the West.
Lukashenko has crushed an uprising after claiming he lost the first ballot – only to be declared victory with 81 percent of the vote.
It was a move that secured him total power in elections widely condemned as tainted by corruption.
Makei abruptly changed stance and soon took a new hard line towards the West.
And before Putin’s invasion, while accusing the West of stoking tensions, he vowed there would be no attack by Belarus on Ukraine.
Just days later, Putin’s troops stormed through his country and invaded northern Ukraine.
“We are shocked by the reports of the death of the head of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.
“Official condolences will be released soon.”
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who remained in power despite the 2020 protests, also expressed his condolences.
Commenting on the minister’s death, exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called Makei a traitor to the Belarusian people.
“In 2020, Makei betrayed the Belarusian people and supported tyranny,” Tsikhanouskaya said.
“This is how the Belarusian people will remember him.”
Belarus sits between Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland – and has been home to Russian troops since Putin invaded Ukraine.
It is feared that Putin might even try to use nuclear weapons there should he try to escalate the invasion.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6773643/putin-ally-foreign-minister-dies/ Just days before meeting with Russia, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei mysteriously dies at the age of 64