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Belarus: Opposition fears after Crimea annexation

Belarus: Opposition fears after Crimea annexation
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Could Belarus be next?

That is the fear of some of the hundreds of people marching through Minsk in an annual opposition rally, overshadowed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Belarus borders Russia, Ukraine and NATO members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

On what is traditionally known as Freedom Day, many hailed Ukraine’s revolution.

“I think it is very important for us Belarusians to realise that we have a long, long way to go to achieve what the Ukrainians did,” said protester Svetlana Radkevich. “It is like an example – the fight for their independence, for a better future for their children,”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said Ukraine’s territorial integrity should be respected but added that Crimea is now ‘de facto’ a part of Russia.

Criticised by the West for his harsh policies towards the opposition at home, he relies heavily on Moscow for economic and military support.