New reports have claimed that the late Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei was; poisoned in a Kremlin sting operation.
The veteran diplomat and former GRU spy died on Sunday amid claims he was in secret contact with the West concerning the war in Ukraine and preventing Belarus from being incorporated into Russia by Vladimir Putin, Daily Mail reports.
A video shows Makei, 64, looking healthy on a Belarus military cargo plane last week shortly before he died. He wasn’t known to suffer from any chronic illness.
Some reports say he had an apparent heart attack and that his death has ‘shaken’ Alexander Lukashenko who now fears for his own safety.
The tyrant has now even replaced his cooks and servants, fearing assassination by Moscow, it is claimed.
Exiled Putin foe and businessman Leonid Nevzlin alleged that Makei ‘died as a result of poisoning developed in an FSB special laboratory’.
He cited sources close to the Russian special services, claiming: ‘The clinical picture in such cases corresponds to death from stroke or heart failure.’
Makei was due this week to attend an OSCE security meeting in Poland to meet key Western politicians and officials – a session from which Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was; banned.
Nevzlin claimed that the poisoning theory ‘is supported by the fact that the 64-year-old official had no health problems, was leading an active lifestyle, and was making plans.
‘When he suddenly got a heart condition, he did not go to doctors as he had not experienced such problems before and did not give any importance to the pain,’ Nevzlin said.
He quoted a Russian toxicologist saying: ‘It is very easy to poison a man so that everyone thinks he has died of natural causes.
‘It is enough to disrupt the balance of enzymes in his body – the substances that ensure all processes without exception, from fluttering eyelashes to breathing.’
Nevzlin added: ‘The death of Makei, essentially the second [most important] man in the state, has caused panic in Belarusian nomenklatura circles.
‘But dictator Lukashenko is; the most shaken. He has ordered the replacement of his cooks, servants, and guards.
‘Lukashenko’s children have been; given extra security. The dictator does not trust anyone.’
Nevzlin concluded that Lukashenko fears his supposed ally Putin is; arranging ‘a magnificent funeral’ for him.
Makei’s alleged; elimination severed Belarus’ remaining relationships with Western powers, according to the Telegram channel General SVR.
It was; ‘planned, prepared and implemented on the personal initiative of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin,’ the dissident Russian channel alleged.
‘No one really hides the fact that this is; murder from Lukashenko.
‘The action was; demonstrative and aimed at disrupting Lukashenko’s separate negotiations; with the West and China.’
Makei ‘assured his [Western] counterparts, and not without success, that Lukashenko was actually held hostage by Putin and forced to commit ”unpopular” acts under pressure from the Russian president and in order to preserve the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus.’
Russian opposition politician and human rights activist, Lev Shlosberg, 59, added: ‘It is very difficult, almost impossible, to believe in the natural nature of the causes of the death of Vladimir Makei.’
The foreign minister’s widow Vera Polyakova-Makei, 44, an actress and head of Minsk Youth Theatre, has not commented on her husband’s death.
Lukashenko issued only a short statement offering condolences to his family and friends.
But Belarusian political scientist Aleksey Dzermant denied that Makei was; assassinated.
‘There are no facts that would give reason to say so. Moreover, he had a sufficient degree of protection and security.
‘The causes of his death are natural,’ Dzermant said.
Pro-Kremlin analyst Sergey Markov also; claimed ‘all the cooks and service personnel have been; replaced’ in Lukashenko’s residence.
‘Sometimes it needs to be; done. A good reason to do it now,’ he said.
He added: ‘The Belarusian authorities have; rejected versions of the poisoning of Foreign Minister Makei.
‘They said that he started having heart problems. But the sudden death of a rather young, 64-year-old, prominent politician created suspicions of murder.’
Makei had; held his post since 2012 and wasn’t; known to suffer from any chronic illness.