Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko should have the confidence to call fresh elections, his counterpart in Ukraine has said.
President Volodymyr Zelensky told Euronews in an exclusive interview to be broadcast on Tuesday that if he were in the Belarusian leader's place he would "definitely" hold the vote in one month — and invite foreign groups to observe it.
"Let's imagine that I am confident about myself, I am confident in the people’s vote, that I am a confident person. How can I calm everyone down?" he said.
"I would definitely say: ‘in one month there will be a new vote. And I am running for the new election. Whoever wants to run — go ahead!’`
"I would invite everyone, all international observers, all of them."
The Ukrainian leader's remarks came after the European Union and other Western countries said they did not recognise the result of August 9 presidential election, which gave Lukashenko 80% of the vote.
Supporters of opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya maintain she was the true victor. Official figures gave her just 10%. She has since fled to Lithuania, saying she fears for her safety.
Zelensky said any candidate should be allowed to run in a repeat election.
"I’d tell the people of Belarus: ‘Please, elect whoever you want’,`" he told Euronews.
"And after that result, there would be no more questions. I’m convinced about it."
"If Lukashenko won, he’d win; if someone else won, then it’s someone else. But everyone would be calm, without blood [being shed], it would be fair and would make history."
The full interview with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky will be shown on Global Conversation on Euronews on Tuesday 25 August.