19 Mar 2021 20:21

Putin relieves Mezentsev of duties as Russian ambassador to Belarus - decree

MOSCOW. March 19 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree relieving Dmitry Mezentsev of his duties as Russian ambassador to Belarus on Friday.

The decree has been published on the official web portal of legal information.

Mezentsev has held the post of Russian ambassador to Belarus since April 2019.

This is the third time Russia has replaced its ambassador in Minsk in the past three years.

Yevgeny Lukyanov, who has been serving as Russian ambassador to Latvia for the past four years, is to replace Mezentsev.

On March 10, the State Duma Committee on Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots confirmed Lukyanov as the nominee for Russian ambassador to Belarus.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko introduced Lukyanov at the committee meeting. As he was commenting on the ambassador's replacement at Interfax's request, Rudenko said that such decisions are made by the president.

"Every ambassador has their term of office determined by the president. Hence, this is what the president has decided to do," Rudenko said.

Mezentsev, in turn, is expected to replace Grigory Rapota as the state secretary of the Union State, a source in the Russian parliament told Interfax. Rapota said in February that he intends to step down as state secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union State, as his term in office is expiring.