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At U.N., Belarus accuses western states of trying to sow 'chaos and anarchy'

FILE PHOTO: Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei speaks during a news conference following talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia September 2, 2020. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei accused Western countries on Saturday of attempting to sow “chaos and anarchy” in the former Soviet republic, which has been rocked by street protests since an election last month.

“We are seeing attempts to destabilize the situation in the country,” he told the United Nations General Assembly in a video statement. “Interference in our internal affairs, sanctions and other restrictions on Belarus will have the opposite effect, and are harmful for absolutely everyone.”

More than 12,000 people have been arrested since President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the landslide winner of an Aug. 9 election that the opposition denounced as rigged.

The United States, Britain and Canada are expected to impose sanctions soon on Belarusian individuals over what those governments view as a rigged election and violence against peaceful protesters, sources have told Reuters.

“Statements brimming with cynicism have been made by a series of our Western colleagues about their alleged concern for Belarusian sovereignty and well-being,” Makei told the United Nations. “In actual fact they are nothing other than attempts to bring chaos and anarchy to our country.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Daniel Wallis