Aleksandr Lukashenko addresses nation on the day of anniversary of Khatyn tragedy

    Dear compatriots,

    Distinguished foreign guests,

    Today we bow our heads and mark a grievous date in the history of the Belarusian nation – the 70th anniversary of the Khatyn tragedy.

    On 22 March 1943 the lethal breath of war buried this Belarusian village under the ashes forever. Khatyn was one of 600 villages in Belarus totally destroyed together with the people living there.

    Fascist invaders martyred 149 Khatyn residents – peaceful, ordinary people, men and women, elderly people and children. What did they do wrong? They, like millions of our compatriots, wanted to live and work peacefully, cultivate land, build homes and grow crops. However, they were forced to go through hell on earth.

    During the Great Patriotic War Nazi invaders unleashed utter genocide against the Belarusian people. By shooting, torturing, burning alive, sending our compatriots to deadly concentration camps, Nazis wanted to intimidate the Belarusians, slaughter a major part of the country’s population and turn the rest into slaves.

    But their misanthropic plans ended in dismal failure. No ordeals and humiliation could corrode people’s love for the Fatherland, deprive them of the will for victory. In partisan camps, in clandestine organizations the strong and indomitable Resistance movement was gaining momentum. Fallen soldiers were replaced by new ones when they ousted enemies from the native land and brought the Great Victory closer.

    A 70-year period is a brief moment in history. However, some people have already forgotten the lessons of World War II. And today certain powers that be try to interfere in domestic affairs of sovereign states using political, economic and information blackmail, apply military force against simple people. Acts of international terrorism occur in various corners of the planet, claiming lives of innocent people.

    Having withstood the ordeals of war and foreign invasion more than once, Belarus urges all people of good will to join efforts in the fight against violence and terror, the fight for peace and the right of every nation to follow its path and choose its destiny.

    We will never forget the names of those who sacrificed their lives for the Fatherland. And today, in the day of sorrow and grief, we swear to safeguard our independence, maintain stability, wellbeing and peace in the Belarusian land.

    Eternal glory to the Fatherland defenders! God grant eternal rest to those killed in the sacred struggle! Blessed memory of the heroes and victims of the war will stay in the hearts and minds of the present and future generations of Belarusians.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko