The self-proclaimed president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, refused to have lunch at the Chamber of Facets in the Kremlin, which was held by Putin for the leaders of the CIS countries who arrived in Moscow to take part in Victory Day celebrations . Lukashenko flew back to Minsk.
The Belarusian news website Nasha Niva believes that Lukashenko had to leave due to health reasons.
According to the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty, after the military parade on Red Square, Lukashenko asked Putin to organize special transport to avoid walking 300 meters to the Alexander Garden, where the guests laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The guards brought him in an electric security car. The news outlet notes that Lukashenko looked "unusually sad" on the tribune.
A few days ago, Charter'97 reported that Lukashenka sounded unhealthy at the recent meeting, and some of his relatives were diagnosed with a "mixture of covid and flu": "Participation in further events is questionable. Participation in the celebrations in Minsk will be on a shortened schedule."
Neither Minsk nor Moscow have yet officially commented on Lukashenko's absence from the gala dinner.
In addition to Lukashenko, the parade on May 9 in Moscow was attended by the presidents of Kazakhstan - Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Turkmenistan - Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Kyrgyzstan - Sadyr Japarov, Tajikistan - Emomali Rahmon, Uzbekistan - Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called the visit of the leaders of the CIS countries to Moscow an immoral and unfriendly step.