Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out a report on the military and political situation, risks, challenges and threats for Belarus, and also proposals on ways to respond to them.
The meeting was attended by State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Stanislav Zas, Belarus’ Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov, and head of the main intelligence directorate, deputy head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus Pavel Tikhonov.
“This is certainly an armored fist. There is no downplaying it. Yet, 30 tanks and 30 armored vehicles are a ridiculous force against the Belarusian army. We, as I often recall, have carried out four modernization programs of our army, as we were well aware what kind of fists they could create near our borders, and what kind of enemy we could face, God forbid,” said the Belarusian leader. "We were preparing for this. So 30 tanks sound ridiculous for our army. We can stand back and take no measures in response as all,” he added.
At the same time, the head of state warned against some other thing. “Never before they have deployed troops so defiantly close to our borders from across the ocean. It has never happened before. I think this has happened for the first time in Lithuania. It is a precedent. That's for first. Secondly, we have to respond to such demonstrations but we should not rattle our arms. We are a peace-loving nation, we do not want to fight," the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that a few days ago he instructed to work out action plan for an adequate response to the actions related to the deployment of armored vehicles and military personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces in Lithuania in close proximity to the border with Belarus.
“I closely watched media reports how it is perceived by our political scientists, specialists and journalists, and the reaction of our society. I cannot say that the reaction is right from my point of view,” the President said.
He said he got familiar with the report of the intelligence agency on the deployment of NATO troops in Western Europe, and also on the role of the forces deployed by the United States. “The deployment is underway. Our intelligence reports on this. We have all the data, from the moment they land at the Latvian port in Riga and the time they move to the deployment site,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “Half a thousand military, up to 600 people are deployed near our border. There are some 29-30 tanks, armored vehicles with all the accompanying personnel,”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, he sees some conspiracy theories in various statements of politicians, journalists, bloggers and charlatans. “There is no conspiracy here. I reiterate: this brigade is not a rival to our Armed Forces. Frankly speaking, we can cope with them even with our mobile landing and assault units that perform the appropriate functions. We ourselves have enough strength and resources to respond to such things. Therefore, there is no need to call upon the whole world to stand up for Belarus. We are capable of protecting ourselves,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state noted that Belarus has repeatedly fallen victim to the wars of others many times. “The Belarusian people turned over the page of wars. Our policy is clear: we want peace in this region and Europe as a whole, our common home. But, apparently, someone is getting the itch," the President said.
He recalled some of the lessons of the past, when before the Great Patriotic War broke out they assured that there would be no war, and signed treaties with Hitler's Germany. “We were always encouraged back then not to respond to provocations. And we are having enormous forces in Ukraine and Belarus, sat idle and lost Ukraine and Belarus in a matter of months,” the head of state said.
“We indeed take note of the statements of politicians of Europe and America, military colleagues that they are peace-loving people and that they are not going to fight with us. We hear them, understand and take note these statements. But drawing on the lessons of the past we must keep gunpowder dry and must respond adequately to any actions of this kind. But we should not rattle our arms. No way!” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
At the same time, he stressed that Belarus will not publish various fake news in the media about this situation, as some other mighty countries do. We do not need these fakes. We need to tell our people clearly how we will respond to it and how much it will cost. We should communicate this information to our rivals, too,” the Belarusian leader add.
You can see this in Syria. Even if American fuel trucks are not accompanied by armored vehicles, even without weapons, still everyone tries to stay away from them, try to avoid them because no one wants to be hit by some unbreakable force. This should be taken into account. The U.S. Army, NATO stationed here in Europe, is really a force. But Americans should understand something too. God forbid, there is some kind of clash, we (military people) will not look into passports to understand who is up against us - Americans, Lithuanians, Germans or someone else... We will not look into passports,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko warned Lithuanian politicians and Lithuanian leadership that different options of response are being considered. Response to the the deployment of armed forces but also medium-term and distant future responses: “The medium-term future is their exercises. First of all, it is an assignment for you, the military, to prepare for their exercises. They conduct their exercise, we, for example, respond to it by conducting our exercise or something else. You'll report it to me on this today,” he said.
“Lithuanians should understand that adequate responses are one thing. We have enough strength and means to respond asymmetrically, as politicians say,” the head of state stressed.
The President emphasized that the Pabrade training area, where the corresponding forces are stationed, is several kilometers away from the Belarusian nuclear power plant. “We need to be careful here. God forbid a second Chernobyl. Europe will not survive it,” the Belarusian leader said.
In his words, Belarus has secured good defense of its nuclear power plant from the air: “We have an anti-aircraft regiment equipped with the latest weapons - Tor-M2 [the anti-aircraft missile system] there. Our military has a perfect command of these weapons.
The President said that there is a need for a more serious ground protection of the nuclear power plant. Aleksandr Lukashenko added that Lithuania understands that if the nuclear power plant faces an emergency situation, it will affect both sides of the border.
The President noted that he does not want everyone to think that Belarus will buy some new large-scale weapons and spend a lot of money on this. “Of course, we will not spare any money for it. We will find the money. But we are not Russia which has hydrocarbons. Nor are we America which prints dollars. We do not have so much money, so our main principle in defense is to inflict an unacceptable damage to the enemy. We proceed from this," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Everyone should understand that if they are going to fight with us, we will cause an unacceptable damage to them. I do not want to be specific, not to be criticized afterwards in the press or by bloggers. Military people understand what unacceptable damage is. We have weapons to do that,” the Belarusian leader.
In conclusion, he reiterated: "We do not rattle our arms. We prepare adequate responses to any movements. What worries me is the precedent. I do not want troops to be stationed 15km away from our borders, no matter what they are,” the head of state stressed.
He asked those present to report on possible response to such developments and on the way Belarus is preparing for a large-scale exercise which is to take place near its borders.