Belarusian leader says no to new election, accuses NATO of build-up

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during a rally of his supporters near the Government House in Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus August 16, 2020. Maxim Guchek/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, speaking at a rally of his supporters in Minsk on Sunday, rejected calls to hold a new presidential election and accused NATO of massing on his country’s western border.

Belarus has been rocked by a week of street protests after protesters accused Lukashenko of rigging a presidential election last Sunday, something he denies.

Lukashenko earlier spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin who told the Belarusian leader that Moscow stood ready to provide help in accordance with a collective military pact if necessary, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Andrew Osborn