The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei dies ‘suddenly,’ state says

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei gestures while speaking during his annual news conference in February. (AP)

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has died, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday, providing scant detail.

On Facebook, the ministry wrote Saturday that Makei “died suddenly today.” It also posted a picture of Makei on Twitter, writing in English that he “has passed away,” without saying where or how he died. He was 64.

The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. State media outlet Belta reported his death, citing a ministry spokesperson, but also did not provide further details.

Makei had for years been in the orbit of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, becoming foreign minister in 2012. Previously, Makei served as an assistant and later as chief of staff to Lukashenko, according to a biography on the ministry’s website, which says he was married and had three children.

Lukashenko has expressed condolences to Makei’s family, Belta reported.

Makei was set to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said last week.

In a statement Sunday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Lavrov had sent a telegram of condolence to Makei’s wife, adding: “The leadership and staff of the Russian Foreign Ministry deeply mourn the untimely death of Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.”

“Vladimir Vladimirovich Makei was a true friend of Russia, who made a unique contribution to the comprehensive development of broad bilateral cooperation, the integration construction of the Union State, the strengthening of ties between the fraternal peoples of Russia and Belarus,” the ministry said.

Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in a Telegram post Saturday that “we are shocked” by the reports of Makei’s death.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Belarus has remained a close ally to the Kremlin: Lukashenko has hosted Russian troops and equipment, allowed Russia to use his nation as a launchpad for airstrikes against Ukrainian targets, and detained hundreds of antiwar demonstrators.

In September, Makei said in remarks at the United Nations General Assembly that “it is the collective West that should fully bear the responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine,” and that the West had “made this conflict inevitable.”

Natalia Abbakumova contributed to this report.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia claimed to have seized control of Soledar, a heavily contested salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine where fighting has raged recently, but a Ukrainian military official maintained that the battle was not yet over. The U.S. and Germany are sending tanks to Ukraine.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

Loading...