Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Asks to Be Released from Post

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Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Igor Leshchenya (photo by TASR)

Minsk/Bratislava, August 18 (TASR) – Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Igor Leshchenya, who supported the people protesting against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election last weekend, has filed a request to be released from his post, Belarusian news portal Tut.by reported on Tuesday.

“I’ve actually asked to be released from the post. It’s a logical step, as I was appointed as an ambassador by the current president, and I’m expected to pursue policy defined by him. The Foreign Affairs Ministry [in Minsk] assumes that the stance that I expressed in my statement went beyond this framework,” the ambassador told Tut.by.

The Belarusian Foreign Affairs Ministry told the site that the decision to remove an ambassador from a post is made by the person that appointed him to the post, i.e. the head of the state. This applies even if the ambassador himself asks to be released, and a respective decree must be signed. The decision to release Leshchenya from the post hasn’t been signed yet, stated Tut.by.

The Belarusian ambassador to Slovakia posted a video message on Sunday (August 16) in which he supported Belarusian people who participated in peaceful protests following the country’s presidential election.

“Like all Belarusians, I’m shocked by stories that my fellow citizens have been tortured and beaten,” said the diplomat in the video. He also stated that he stands in solidarity with those who went out onto the streets of Belarusian cities to take part in peaceful marches so that their voice could be heard.

Leshchenya has been employed by the Belarusian Foreign Affairs Ministry since 1994. He was Belarusian President Lukashenko’s advisor on foreign-political issues between 2002-06. He’s served as ambassador to Slovakia since 2016.