İrem UZUN -TDO- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has accused Russia of meddling in his country's presidential election campaign and trying to discredit him. Lukashenko said he would discuss the alleged meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he did not give a date. "It's clear that the puppeteers are behind them. They live in Poland and are supplied from Russia," he said. "We will talk about this with President Putin in the near future at a meeting."

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years and allowed little dissent, faces the strongest challenge in years to his hold on power in the August 9 election as frustration mounts over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and grievances grow over the economy and human rights. In comments made while appointing new ambassadors, Lukashenko said external forces stood behind his opponents and were disseminating information discrediting him and his family members.

The Kremlin on Thursday denied an allegation by Minsk that Russian forces were meddling in Belarus’s upcoming presidential election, Reuters reports. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “Russia has never, is not and does not intend to interfere in election process, particularly in the ones of our Belarusian ally.”

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