65.16 percent and 10.07 percent of the population were in favor of constitutional changes, the Belarusian state news agency Belda reported just after midnight on Sunday. According to official data, Minsk had the lowest level of support for the proposed changes, and the highest in the Mogilev region east of the country near Russia’s border.
Speaking at the polls, Lukashenko said that if the people of Belarus agreed to the referendum, they could ask Russia to return Belarus’ nuclear weapons once the referendum is over.
– West) If you move nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania, to our borders, I will ask Putin to return the abandoned nuclear weapons without any conditions – said Lukashenko.
The referendum on the abolition of Belarus’ neutrality paves the way for strong military cooperation with Russia, which, under the guise of military exercises, stationed troops in Belarus and then sent them to Ukraine as part of an invasion that began on Thursday.
Sunday’s referendum was held in an anti – democratic atmosphere, persecuting opponents of the Alexander Lukashenko regime and during the Russian occupation of Ukraine, also from Belarus.
During the initial poll, the independent media continued to publish information about “organized” voting for students, military personnel and workplaces. Those invited to the referendum were, among others, observers of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but there was no institutionalized presence of Western observers.
The human rights organization Vyasna announced on Sunday evening that at least 226 people had been detained across the country. On polling day, Belarusians protested against the war with Ukraine. News of the arrests came from many places. Besides Minsk, these are Krotno, Komal, Vitebsk, Mogilev, Paranavichi, Lita, Pollock and other cities.
Among the changes proposed in the referendum was the abandonment of Belarus as a non-nuclear state. Moreover, according to government announcements, the new constitution limits the president’s powers and implements the country’s stable administration. According to critics of the plan, the changes will be mainly cosmetic, and Alexander Lukashenko will retain full control of the political system.
Introduced a new body in the constitution – the All Belarusian People’s Congress. He is being compared to a “co-parliament”, and Lukashenko may become its leader.
The opposition did not recognize the legitimacy of voting under conditions of repression and civil rights restrictions.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, about 800 nuclear weapons were in the territory of independent Belarus. They were all handed over to Russia in 1996.
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