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Belarusian leader Lukashenko says he may have been in power too long - Russian news agencies

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends an interview with journalists of Russian media in Minsk, Belarus September 8, 2020. Nikolai Petrov/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said he may have stayed in power as president a little too long, but said he was the only person capable of protecting the country for now, Russian news agencies reported him as saying on Tuesday.

“Yes, maybe I overstayed a bit,” the TASS news agency cited Lukashenko as saying in an interview with several Russian state-run media outlets.

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 and claimed victory in a contested Aug. 9 presidential election which his opponents say was massively rigged.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn