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


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 this week in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign ministry said last week.

“We are shocked by the reports of the death” of Makei, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a post on Telegram, adding that official condolences from the ministry were forthcoming.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, Belarus has remained a close ally to the Kremlin, with Lukashenko hosting Russian troops and equipment, allowing Russia to use his nation as a launchpad for hundreds of airstrikes against Ukrainian targets and detaining 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.”

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