Forcibly denied re-entry to his native Belarus, Roman Catholic Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz found a strong ally Wednesday in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
"Belarusian authorities should allow the re-entry of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, so he can tend to his flock during the ongoing protests," Pompeo declared on Twitter.
In an obvious dig at the heavy-handed moves to retain power by strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, Pompeo went on to say the archbishop "and all Belarusian people must be allowed to exercise their fundamental freedoms, including freedom to worship."
Kondrusiewicz revealed Sept. 1 in Catholic.by (the website of the Catholic Church in Belarus) that border guards had kept him from re-entering the country in which he is a citizen.
"The ban on entering the Republic of Belarus prevents me, as the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mogilev and the Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Belarus, from carrying out pastoral ministry and participation in planned Church events," he said.
For four weeks, tens of thousands of Belarusians have been in daily — and often violent — marches in the capital city of Minsk to protest Lukashenko's claim of re-election last month. Roughly 6000 students took to the main square Wednesday in Minsk to denounce Lukashenko.
That same day, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appeared in Minsk to show solidarity with the embattled president. In a joint televised appearance, Lukashenko told Mishustin that his security forces had intercepted calls from German authorities and called the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny a "falsification."
"They [the German government] did it – I quote – in order to discourage [Russian President Vladimir] Putin from sticking his nose into Belarus's affairs," he said.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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