Putin: Russia is ready to provide security help to Belarus

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Russian President says he stands ready to send police to Belarus if protests there turn violent but sees no such need now. Hours after Putin’s interview was broadcast Thursday, Belarusian police dispersed a protest in Minsk and detained about 180, raising pressure on the opposition. Belarus’ authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, is facing weeks of protests against his reelection in the Aug. 9 vote, which the opposition says was rigged. Putin said that Lukashenko has asked him to prepare a Russian law enforcement contingent to deploy to Belarus if necessary. Putin added he and Lukashenko have agreed that “there is no such need now, and I hope there won’t be,” but warned that Russia would send the contingent if protests turn violent.

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