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Kremlin says situation in Belarus is under control, no need to send forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with graduates of the Management Personnel Pool program at the Graduate School of Public Administration of Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia August 20, 2020. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Monday that the situation in neighbouring Belarus was under control and that it did not see the need to send in forces to support Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko who is facing protests after a disputed election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the Kremlin had set up a special police force to support Lukashenko at his request, but said it would not be deployed unless unrest there spun out of control.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Belarusian security forces and the country’s leadership were keeping the situation under control in what he called “quite an assured manner”.

Moscow was also ready to support Belarus, a close Russian ally, in amending its constitution if asked, said Peskov.

Earlier this year, Russia approved changes to its own constitution that allow Putin to remain in power until 2036 if re-elected.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Maxim Rodionov; Editing by Andrew Osborn