Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko convened a meeting on 6 August to discuss ways to maintain security during the presidential election.
“It is clear that the election is going on, early voting is in full swing; however it still makes sense to analyze once again the current situation taking into consideration our experience, and to think of additional measures to maintain security in the near term. You know the details, I will not repeat them. However, if there are any new circumstances, I would ask chiefs of government agencies to bring them up and put forward their proposals,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president repeated the task for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office: all those who insulted and intimidated civil servants, the military, members of election commissions and government officials should be held accountable in line with Belarusian laws and the Constitution. “We have enough resources to protect the people of the state who are now serving the country virtually for free,” the head of state emphasized.
The head of state urged the police to closely communicate with the public in order to prevent the destabilization of the situation and to identify suspicious persons. The president noted that many provocateurs were detained due to the vigilance of the public.
“To be honest, we do not know what they are capable of. We do not even know who they are: Americans with the NATO, or someone from Ukraine or our eastern brothers show ‘their affection’ towards us this way. A hybrid war is going on against Belarus and we should expect dirty tricks from any side, which we actually do,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.
According to the president, quite a number of people detained in Belarus sought to destabilize the situation in the country, there is evidence of that. These are not only members of the private military company. “We know addresses, houses, names. Certain things are just beyond belief. Mass media are keeping us on our toes speculating that Americans, the NATO want to invade us. Some people with American passports were detained; they were married to American women working in the Department of State. However, Russian top officials are going to extraordinary lengths to defend them,” the head of state said.
He noted that money is a decisive factor in all these entanglements; while the affiliation with one or another country or a political party does not play any role. “It does not matter if it is an American citizen, an employee of the Department of State or a member of the Democratic Party… They took part in the election campaign in Russia, received good money for that. Today they are creating (or created) hype in the territory of Belarus. I thought that Americans would rush to defend them. Not at all. Money is making them blind; they have turned green over it: they work for whoever pays them. This is the only answer. We have many people like that here” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to invite the prosecutor general's offices of Russia and Ukraine to look into the situation with the militants detained in Belarus.
“I will give instructions to the prosecutor general to look into the situation with so-called 33 warriors [members of a private military company detained in Belarus] to put a stop to all this idle talk. Yesterday, we had a long conversation on the matter with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The media have already reported on it. My position was unambiguous: we are guided by the Belarusian laws. They have committed offenses on the territory of Belarus. We know everything that the Investigative Committee has so far revealed,” said the head of state.
He instructed to invite the prosecutor generals of Ukraine and Russia to Belarus. “Everyone is concerned about this serious problem. The three of you [prosecutors general] should examine the international treaties and the agreements that we signed with the Russian Federation and with Ukraine, and the ones we signed multilaterally (we made appropriate commitments), our laws. The Investigative Committee and the State Security Committee will report both operational information and information of the investigators to you and the three of you will come to a decision,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“If they decide to abstain, we will solve the issue without them," the head of state stressed.
He noted that many are actively expressing their concerns over this issue: "They are whining, moaning, screaming, suggesting all kinds of theories. There is no use talking on TV. The TV will not help. We will act solely on the basis of laws and, which is very important, humanity. Laws do not prescribe everything. It is still necessary to proceed from the human factor.”
“We will solve this problem. There should be no politicization” the Belarusian leader stressed. “We do not need theatricals, either political or economic ones. They should not intimidate us with some consequences. We know all the consequences. Do not threaten us with the Americans, NATO. It was not the Americans or NATO that sent 33 people here, if it comes to that,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko once again noted that the prosecutors general of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine need to come together and sort everything out. “They need to take a sit down and do as they see fit. They should make a decision on these guys based on our legislation, the international laws. As they, the three of them, decide, so it will be,” he said.
“Another topic I would like to bring up is the alternative vote counting on election day. The Prosecutor General’s Office and courts should assess the legal status of such initiatives. This should be done in courts if such appeals are submitted,” the head of state asked.
He emphasized that in any case everyone who will come to the polls should have an opportunity to cast their ballot in a calm and festive environment without fears of attacks or interferences in their personal choice.
The president noted that he is closely following the election campaign. In his view, a great number of people took advantage of the early voting opportunity because they got alarmed and realized that they could lose the country.
“People behave in a nice and decent way, without disturbing anyone. Some people want to go to the countryside or elsewhere on weekends, just as usual. We do not vote by post like some countries do. We have polling stations. Everyone goes to the polls to cast their ballot. We should make sure everything proceeds smoothly,” he said.
“Some keep urging people to take to the streets on 9 and 10 August. God forbid we will make a fire in the center of Minsk and will throw about chars all over Minsk. We cannot let it happen and we will not,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.