Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Schumer requests Senate briefing on Ukraine amid Russia tensions Biden rushes to pressure Russia as Ukraine fears intensify MORE offered military support to Belarus's embattled President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday as the Russian-allied authoritarian ruler faces massive protests and calls for his resignation.
Reuters reported that the Kremlin released a statement announcing that Putin had informed Lukashenko that Russia's military was standing by to assist Belarusian military forces in controlling protests and stopping any would-be coup attempts, though the news service also reported that no Russian presence was visible on the streets of the country's capital.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994 and is often referred to as "Europe's last dictator," reportedly claimed Sunday that NATO troops are lined up at Belarus's borders ready to invade.
“NATO troops are at our gates. Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and our native Ukraine are ordering us to hold new elections,” he told citizens, according to Reuters.
Thousands of Belarusan citizens have packed the capital's streets for days following elections earlier in August widely regarded to have been rigged by Lukashenko's supporters in which he won reelection with more than 79 percent of the vote.