Putin red-faced as Lukashenko rants over Russian men 'running away' to escape conscription

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    In a visibly embarrassing moment for Vladimir Putin, autocrat Alexander Lukashenko lashed out at the Russian leader in a bizarre rant over conscripts fleeing the country. The Belarusian President, who caused major pro-democracy protests over widespread allegations of vote rigging in 2020, blasted Putin for his crackdown on ongoing unrest. Looking down at his feet, the Russian leader appeared recalcitrant to make eye contact with his Belarusian counterpart.

    Launching into an outlandish tirade against Putin, Lukashenko said: “Let’s say 30,000 or 50,000 [people] run away. 

    “But if they say, would they be our people? Let them run away!”

    The Belarusian strongman said: “I don’t know what you think about it, but I wasn’t worried too much in 2020 when people left [Belarus after protests over his vote-rigging].

    “They [later] ask to let them in. So these ones will also come back.

    “But there’s a decision needed about what to do with them.”

    “Let them come back or stay there?”, Lukashenko said. 

    Since Putin’s “partial military mobilisation” of 300,000 reservists, hundreds of thousands of Russians have rushed outside the country by any means to escape conscription.

    Draft-aged Russians have flocked to airports in the hours following Putin’s speech, with plane ticket prices soaring above £4,400 for one-way flights last weekend.

    READ MORE: Russia soldier erupts at army chiefs after Putin generals ‘dumped us’



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