Belarus’ Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei died “suddenly” at age 64, according to a government announcement on Saturday. Details regarding the cause of the death were not provided, but some Belarusian media suggest that it was the result of a heart attack.
However, theories from U.S. and Ukrainian sources claim that Makei was actually murdered by the Kremlin and that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is next on the hit list.
Vladimir Makei’s sudden death is a source of controversy among the Russian opposition and some Ukrainian politicians who do not believe in the explanations provided by sources cited by Belarusian media, which indicate that Makei suffered cardiac arrest after having ignored serious symptoms of heart disease.
According to the advisor to Ukraine’s foreign minister, Anton Herashchenko, Makei was “one of the few not under Russian influence.”
“Rumors say that his death could be a warning for Lukashenko,” added Herashchenko in a Twitter entry.
Human rights activist Lev Shlosberg said that Makei’s medical status was not concerning and claimed it is “extremely hard, almost impossible” to believe his death was due natural causes. Shlosberg evaluated Makei as “the second person in Belarus after Lukashenko,” who was categorically against Belarusian involvement in the Ukraine war.
There is also a Polish thread in the Makei death story. According to Alyaksei Dzikavitsk, who is the deputy director of Belsat TV, Belarus’ foreign minister was invited to the upcoming OSCE meeting in Łódź while Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was not.
Meanwhile, Robert Lansing, from the U.S. think tank Institute for Global Threats and Democracies Studies, which is known for its pro-Ukrainian stance, claimed Vladimir Putin staged the assassination of Makei to warn Lukashenko that he would be the next target if he does not send troops to Ukraine, which he claims comes from sources inside the Russian army command.
According to the U.S. think tank, Lukashenko’s death could then be the pretext for Belarus’ entry into the Ukraine war. Lansing claims that Russian and Belarusian propaganda would explain it by a substantial military threat posed by Warsaw and Kyiv while NATO would be accused of attempting to assassinate Lukashenko.