BELARUS foreign minister Vladimir Makei has died suddenly just days before a key meeting with Russia.
Makei had originally vowed his nation – widely seen as now controlled a puppet regime – would not allow Vladimir Putin’s troops to use it as a staging area to attack 乌克兰.
He had also openly criticised Putin’s country – and had attempted to improve Belarusian relations with the West back in 2020.
But he was quickly overrode by Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus’s leader known as “Europe’s last dictator” who is a stooge for Vlad.
Makei was confirmed dead just days before he was due to meet his 俄语 counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Belarus confirmed his death but did not elaborate further on the circumstances – something which will definitely raise eyebrows.
“Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has passed away suddenly,” the state-owned Belta reported on Saturday.
Makei – who had served in his post for 10 年 – attended a conference of the Collective Security Treaty Organization – a military alliance of several post soviet states – earlier this week in Yerevan.
He was due to meet Lavrov on Monday.
The foreign minister had been on the spearhead of trying to warm up relations with the West before massive protests in 2020.
Lukashenko crushed an uprising after he was claimed to have lost the first round of voting – only to then be declared with win with 81 per cent of the vote.
It was a move that saw him secure total power in elections widely condemned as blighted by corruption.
Makei abruptly changed his stance and soon took a new tough line on the West.
And before Putin’s invasion, while he blamed the West for stoking tensions – he vowed there would be no attack on Ukraine from Belarus.
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 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted in her Telegram channel.
“Official condolences will be published soon.”
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who retained power despite the protests of 2020, also expressed his condolences.
Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, commenting on the minister’s death called Makei a traitor to the Belarusian people.
“在 2020, Makei betrayed the Belarusian people and supported tyranny,” said Tsikhanouskaya.
“This is how the Belarusian people will remember him.”
Belarus is located between Ukraine, 俄罗斯, 立陶宛, Latvia and Poland – and has been hosting Russian troops since Putin invaded Ukraine.
It is feared Putin could even attempt to deploy nuclear weapons there should he seek to escalate the invasion.