Eastern Europe

Belarus expels French ambassador Nicolas de Lacoste

12:16, 18 October 2021
Belarus expels French ambassador Nicolas de Lacoste Photo: by.ambafrance.org

The diplomat has said that the Belarusian Foreign Ministry demanded him leave no later than Monday.

France's ambassador to Belarus Nicolas de Lacoste left Minsk on Sunday evening by order of the Belarusian government, a French Embassy spokesperson has announced.

"The foreign ministry of Belarus demanded that the ambassador leave before October 18. Ambassador Nicolas de Lacoste quit Belarus today. He said goodbye to the personnel of the Embassy and sent a video message to Belarus’s people which will appear tomorrow on the Embassy’s website,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

The reason for the expulsion has not been specified but local media presume that de Lacoste could not present his credentials to President Alexander Lukashenko.

France, like other members of the EU, has not recognized the results of the 2020 presidential elections held last August when Lukashenko received the sixth term.

The outcome of the voting has been widely disputed in Belarus and Europe which resulted in a wave of protests in the country. The EU has imposed sanctions on the Belarusian President who in his turn launched a crackdown on the protesters. Several ‘opposition’ figures were jailed including Babariko, Kolesnikova, and Znak as well as dozens of demonstrators.

Earlier, the Belarusian government ordered the Latvia Embassy employees to leave the country after Latvian officials replaced the current flag of Belarus with its historic version used by the opposition movement at the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship.