The deadline for the forced relocation of foreign diplomatic missions from Minsk’s Drazdy compound expired yesterday. However, according to British and Lithuanian diplomats in Minsk, Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich informed all missions yesterday that they may continue residing in Drazdy. An official communique of the ministry fell short of saying so outright, but seemed to open that possibility in a way designed to save face. This development apparently occurred in the absence of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has just visited Egypt and flew to Russia yesterday.
At the same time, the authorities yesterday declared Drazdy to be a residence of the state president, deployed security personnel around its perimeter, and announced the beginning of the repair work which had been their pretext for the eviction notice in the first place. Most missions had refused to comply. Some Western governments threatened to retaliate against the intended violation of international conventions on the status of diplomatic missions. (AP, BNS, Itar-Tass, June 17; see the Monitor, June 9 and 10)
UKRAINE SUSPENDS MILITARY CONSCRIPTION.