Putin, Belarus leader discuss deepening ties in phone call amid crisis - Kremlin

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Lukashenko attend a ceremony unveiling the Memorial to the Soviet Soldier near Rzhev in Tver Region
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Lukashenko attend a ceremony unveiling the Memorial to the Soviet Soldier near Rzhev in Tver Region

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko discussed strengthening bilateral ties in a telephone call on Wednesday, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Lukashenko is facing a weeks-long domestic political crisis in which tens of thousands of Belarusians have regularly taken to the streets of Minsk calling for him to resign. Russia is a traditional ally of Belarus.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Matthias Williams)