Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia, Ukraine Poland and the Baltic States of Lithuania and Latvia. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk.
In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence, but was later conquered by Soviet Russia in 1922. Belarus declared independence in 1990. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's president since 1994. He has been labeled "Europe's last dictator" for his authoritarian leadership. Political opposition has been violently suppressed, press freedom curbed, and Belarus is the only European country to retain capital punishment. Here you can find an automatic compilation of all DW content referring to Belarus.
In recognition of Belarus’ role in mediating the Ukrainian war, the EU lifted economic sanctions against it. But the West is still reluctant to have political links with the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko who the opposition accuses of human rights abuses. The hounding of dissidents continues despite Lukashenko’s verbal commitment to maintaining democratic standards.Julian Berner reports.
Accusations of totalitarianism in Spain over Catalonia’s independence vote - The mosques behind jihadist cells in Barcelona - Flying high with NATO over Russian war games - Paying for a ticket with your hand in Sweden – Behind the mask in Minsk - Justice for rape victims in Bosnian war? - Ukrainian veterans head to the Invictus Games in Canada – Cool scoops at the world gelato festival in Rimini.
Russia's weeklong military exercises called "Zapad", or West, have ended with no major incidents. Throughout, NATO kept a close eye on drills taking place in Russia and Belarus and DW's Teri Schultz got to ride along with the alliance's eyes in the sky.
The journalist's release is welcome news but there are still at least 160 Turkish journalists who remain behind bars. Turkey's free press record is abysmal, lagging behind authoritarian regimes in Belarus and the Congo.
NATO has welcomed recent dialogue with Russia, but the alliance has serious doubts Moscow is revealing the true extent of its military exercises. Last time this training took place was just before the invasion of Crimea.
In a DW interview, Kurt Volker pledges that Washington will not strike a separate deal with Moscow over the heads of Europeans and Ukrainians - but says it is good that all agree the current situation must improve.
Unlike other Central European leaders, Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico is often seen rubbing shoulders with Vladimir Putin and has been reluctant to criticize Moscow's role in the Ukrainian conflict. And Slovakia has been busy cementing ties to Belarus, a country criticised for violations of democracy. Julian Berner has this report on Slovakia’s foreign policy offensive in Eastern Europe.