In a lengthy interview with the Associated Press, he defended the Russian invasion, but said he didn’t expect it to “come out this way.”
Unacceptable nuclear weapons
The authoritarian Belarusian leader emphasized that he believed it would be “unacceptable” to use nuclear weapons, but said he did not know whether Russia had such plans.
Not only is the use of nuclear weapons unacceptable because it is right next door to us – because we are not on the other side of the ocean like the United States. It’s also unacceptable because it could send the globe out of orbit so the gods know where, Lukashenko told the Associated Press.
– But whether Russia is able to do that – is a question you should ask the Russian leadership, he continues.
You don’t want a confrontation with NATO
However, he doubts that Putin will use nuclear weapons because that would mean an open confrontation with NATO.
Perhaps he (Vladimir Putin, newspaper. Note) does not want a global confrontation with NATO. Everything must be done to prevent this from happening. Even if Putin wanted it, Lukashenko said, the military would respond.
The Associated Press met him at the presidential palace in Minsk. According to the news agency, the interview lasted 90 minutes.
– But I am not so deeply into this matter to be able to say whether it is going according to plan, as the Russians say, or as I feel it. I want to emphasize once again, I think that this process is prolonged in time, says Lukashenko.
– Do everything we can
In the interview, Lukashenko accused Ukraine of “provoking Russia” and swears that Belarus supports peace.
– We are categorically opposed to any war. We have done and are doing everything now to make sure there is no war. Lukashenko says that thanks to the undersigned, that is, I, Ukraine and Russia began negotiations.
– But why Ukraine, which is practically fighting a constant war on its territory with military actions where people die, why Ukraine is not interested in these negotiations, he wonders.
Can sleep well at night
Lukashenko provided public support for the Russian operation and, in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, claimed that Ukraine had plans to attack Belarus.
Russia deployed troops on Belarusian soil under the guise of a military maneuver, before sending them to Ukraine as part of the invasion on February 24.
Belarus also launched military exercises earlier this week, but Lukashenko assured the Associated Press that he was not threatening anyone.
We don’t threaten anyone, we don’t, and we won’t do that. We cannot threaten, we know who is against us, so starting a conflict, any kind of war here in the West, is certainly not in the interest of Belarus. Lukashenko says the West can sleep safely.
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