Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday rejected demands for a revote following a disputed presidential election that has sparked a wave of anti-government protests.
Protesters, including striking state factory workers, allege that electoral authorities rigged the results to give Lukashenko a landslide victory with more than 80% of votes.
Lukashenko, 65, has led the former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe, between Russia and EU member state Poland, for a quarter century, tolerating little dissent. Police have responded to the recent protests with a violent crackdown.
Rejecting calls for a revote, Lukashenko said, "No one should ever expect to pressure me into doing something," according to a speech at the truck maker MZKT in Minsk, state news agency BelTA reported.
The runner-up in last week's election, according to the disputed official tally, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has said that she is ready to assume a role as "leader of the nation" until a revote to confirm that she had won the election.
Tikhanovskaya, who has fled Belarus for EU member state Lithuania amid the police crackdown, said in a video address released on Sunday that preparations were under way to establish a legal basis for enabling a revote.
Lukashenko has described the protesters as "sheep" being led by foreign influencers. He said in a speech on Sunday that the Western military alliance NATO had been amassing troops near the Belarusian border.
The Belarusian military has announced that it would conduct massive war exercises near the border of NATO member state Lithuania from Monday to Thursday.
Russia, Belarus' closest ally, has pledged to support the Belarusian military if needed, noting "pressure from outside" that country following its election, according to a Kremlin statement on Sunday.
EU council summit
Meanwhile, the head of the European Council has scheduled an emergency leaders summit on Wednesday to discuss the post-election crisis in Belarus.
"The people of Belarus have the right to decide on their future and freely elect their leader," European Council President Charles Michel says on Twitter. "Violence against protesters is unacceptable and cannot be allowed."
Thousands of Belarusian protesters have been arrested, with many saying they have been mistreated or even tortured while being held in custody.
The European Union condemned the poll as "neither free nor fair." Last week EU foreign affairs ministers agreed to begin preparing sanctions against Belarusian officials responsible for police violence and election fraud.
The summit on Wednesday is to be held via video conference and is set to start at 12:00 in Brussels.