The US, UK, and EU no longer recognize Lukashenko as the Belarusian president. Canada, the UK, and the EU have placed sanctions on senior Belarusian figures.
Lukashenko secured a $1.5 billion loan from Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this month, and Putin has denounced "external pressure" on Belarus.
On Oct. 10 Lukashenko met with jailed opposition leaders, reportedly discussing constitutional reform.
Belarus has recalled its ambassadors to Poland and Lithuania, which are hosting opposition figures, and both those countries recalled their ambassadors to Belarus in turn.
Following that, eight more European countries withdrew their ambassadors from Belarus.
Russia continues to support Lukashenko; it recently put Tsikhanouskaya on a wanted list.
On Sept. 29 the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev denied reports from Russia's foreign intelligence agency that the Church in Belarus is being used by the US, calling them "complete nonsense, fake information."
"Some media outlets published information provided by the head of Russia's foreign intelligence service Sergey Naryshkin. This is a fake, this is nonsense. He spoke about some provocations, about the fact that the United States, the CIA and other organizations are trying to use the Catholic Church to undermine the state system in our country. This is complete nonsense, fake information, lies that have nothing to do with the truth … This is information that should be treated with a touch of irony," Bishop Yury Kasabutski said during his homily at a Mass in Minsk.
Naryshkin is director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service. The Russian news agency Interfax reported Sept. 29 that Naryshkin had said, "the United States is also unceremoniously interfering in the religious situation in Belarus … The clergy of the Roman Catholic Church are being asked to openly criticize the Belarusian authorities and to use religious events, including sermons, prayers, religious processions, to conduct opposition political propaganda among believers."
The Russian foreign intelligence director added that "According to the plan of the Americans, this should force Minsk to take harsh retaliatory measures against the Roman Catholic Church."
Naryshkin said the Belarusian opposition is planning a "resonant provocation" during which a high-ranking cleric "would be arrested or even wounded or killed," with the intention of increasing opposition sentiment among Catholics in the country.
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The president of the Belarusian bishops' conference, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev, was exiled in August. Lukashenko has suggested the archbishop might be a citizen of more than one country.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz' passport was invalidated, and he was blocked from returning from Poland by border guards Aug. 31. The archbishop has spoken in defense of the protests following the presidential election.
The archbishop told CNA: "I was accused that I received from Warsaw some instructions, or something, but I didn't visit Warsaw." He said he had visited eastern Poland to celebrate the First Communion of a relative.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz wrote to Archbishop Jozić after his episcopal consecration, saying: "Your Excellency, on the day of your episcopal ordination, I cordially greet you on my own behalf, as well as on behalf of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Belarus and all Catholics of our country … For the development of our pastoral and social activities, as well as relations with the state at this turning point in our history, we need your support as a representative of the Holy See."