Aleksandr Lukashenko attends Independence Day paradein Minsk

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Speech of President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the army parade held in Minsk on 3 July to mark Independence Day and the 70th anniversary of Belarus' liberation from the Nazi invaders

Soldiers, sergeants, warrant officers and officers,

Dear veterans,

Dear compatriots and guests of Belarus,

Today we celebrate the main national holiday – the Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus.

There are fateful dates in the life of every nation. Such dates become reference points to record a new age in the nation's history and inspire the highest spiritual upsurge and unity of citizens of the country.

The day our Motherland was liberated from the Nazi invaders was one of the fateful dates for us. Today we solemnly celebrate the 70th anniversary of that day.

It is the historical event that has become Independence Day in line with the will of the Belarusian nation. The event combines the holy words for all of us — Freedom and Independence.

Our independence relies on accomplishments of the generation of victors. Of those, who sacrificed their lives to bring the long-awaited freedom to our land.

Every year on this holy day we pay a tribute of greatest respect to the unparalleled deed of the Belarusian people. We bow low before those, who fell in battle in the name of the Motherland. We honor and praise everyone, who contributed to Belarus' liberation from the Nazi invaders

In June 1941 Belarus had to face the dreadful traitorous blow of the aggressor but did not waver in the face of the onslaught. Heroic resistance began from the first moments of the war in the Brest Fortress and continued during the entire period of occupation to the full liberation of Belarus.

Virtually all people living in Belarus fought against the invaders. Those who did not fight on the frontline joined partisan brigades or the underground movement.

Full liberation of the Belarusian land took place during the great strategic offensive Operation Bagration. During that operation the military command maintained close cooperation with partisan formations.

Belarus suffered greatly and lost a third of its population. But the spirit of the Belarusian nation and the will to resist the enslavers were not broken.

We did not forget anything!

Memory about the heroic deed is sacred. It is the memory that prevents us from making tragic errors. It allows us to objectively assess threats and learn serious lessons from the past.

It is particularly important in modern conditions when international tensions are once again on the rise and military potential is once again accumulated near our borders.

Today we can see decreased effectiveness of the international security system that evolved after the war. New threats emerge. Post-war borders are revised and readjusted. Trends that lead to global instability have taken shape.

We see arrogant interference with internal affairs of sovereign nations, attempts to fuel ethnic strife and destabilize the situation not only in the Middle East but unfortunately in brotherly Ukraine already.

Our nearest neighbors have faced a number of problems including split of the society, a civil war and chaos in the country, multiple casualties, and economy degradation.

These tragic events confirm that in essence the entire Europe, the entire world are in transition between historical epochs and every state has to be ready to face any challenges of the time.

The most important area of efforts of the country's leadership in modern conditions is the enhancement and development of the Armed Forces and the entire military organization of the state. The defense system that has been created in Belarus is ready to reliably protect the constitutional order, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, peace and calmness of the people.

Belarus is a peace-loving and open country that speaks in favor of a system of international relations based on the supremacy of international law and multilateral cooperation.

It is what our balanced multiple-vector foreign policy aims for. The policy envisages comprehensive cooperation with ex-USSR countries, the development of a dialogue with countries of the West and the East.

At the same time the development of relations with our strategic ally – the Russian Federation — is a priority. It is symbolic that today military personnel of the two brotherly nations stand shoulder to shoulder on parade grounds.

The wellbeing of the people, dynamic development of the country, and reinforcement of the country's positions as a self-determined subject of the international community represent the best memory about the heroism of our liberators.

Hail to the Belarusian people who defended the independence of the Fatherland!

Hail to our veterans! Sparing their lives they fought against the enemy on the frontline, produced weapons in the name of the Victory!

Thank you for withstanding the ordeals of the most terrible war of the previous century!

Eternal glory to the heroes who died in fights for the Homeland, lost their loves for the freedom and happiness of the future generations!

I hope we will be worth their great feat!

Let the sky above our dear Motherland be always peaceful!

Happy Independence Day! Hurrah!