Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has died at the age of 64, state news agency Belta reported on Saturday.
“Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has passed away suddenly,” Belta reported.
Makei had held his post since 2012.
He had attended a conference of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – a military alliance of several post soviet states – in Yerevan earlier this week and was due to meet Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday.
Before the presidential elections and mass anti-government protests in Belarus in 2020, Makei had been one of the initiators of efforts to improve Belarus’ relations with the West and had criticised Russia.
However, he abruptly changed his stance after the start of the protests, claiming they were inspired by agents of the West.
“We are shocked by the reports of the death of the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted in her Telegram channel. “Official condolences will be published soon.”