Russia is withdrawing ambassador Mikhail Babich from Minsk, the Russian political daily Kommersant reports citing several high-ranking sources.
Several sources confirmed the upcoming retirement.
“This has been discussed since last week,” one of the sources told Kommersant. Another confirmed the corresponding decree of Russian President is expected in the near future.
Mikhail Babich was appointed the head of the diplomatic mission in Minsk in August 2018. The sources told Kommersant it was Kremlin’s decision to send Babich to Belarus, as well as to withdraw him.
Mikhail Babich is not a career diplomat, but a political appointee. His arrival to Minsk coincided with the beginning of a new, more active, policy of the Russian authorities in the Belarusian direction.
Namely, since last year Moscow has been demanding real steps towards deeper integration from the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko following the 1999 agreement on the creation of a Union State of Russia and Belarus.
The resignation of Babich, say the sources of Kommersant, is the result of repeated requests from President Lukashenko, which he personally addressed to Vladimir Putin. The latest conversation reportedly took place in Bejing.
The sources of Kommersant say that the withdrawal is not a sanction against Babich himself, who is likely to be offered another position in the near future.