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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Milinkevich Visits Warsaw

APMilinkevich, left, and his wife meeting with Kaczynski in Warsaw on Thursday.
WARSAW -- Belarussian opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich insisted Thursday that his failed bid to unseat President Alexander Lukashenko was a "step toward victory," while Polish leaders renewed their support for democratic change in his country.

"These elections were a demonstration for the whole Belarussian nation and for other countries that the authorities can only take part in elections with the help of force, violence and lies," Milinkevich said after meeting with Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Milinkevich and Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz later Thursday signed an agreement laying the groundwork for a program offering scholarships in Poland to Belarussian students expelled from universities at home due to opposition activities.

In Minsk, a former Polish ambassador to Belarus detained at a rally was rushed from the jail where here was serving a 15-day sentence to a hospital Wednesday. Mariusz Maszkiewicz was hospitalized with a possible heart attack.

The wife of a jailed opposition leader, Alexander Kozulin, on Thursday asked U.S., Russian and EU leaders to pressure authorities to release him.

Lukashenko on Thursday thanked Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao and the few other leaders who had congratulated him on his re-election.