Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session of Security Council of Belarus

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President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has held a session of the Security Council to discuss the preliminary results of the first phase of the snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus.

“I would like to say a couple of words about the situation that bothers our government and people. This matter is broadly covered by mass media, from reports about the situation to attempts to provoke Lukashenko to speak and voice his position on the developments in Ukraine,” the President noted.

“I would like to say that those who closely follow the developments will not make attempts like that, because we announced our position at the outset. This is a consolidated and single position. More than that, the Foreign Minister was instructed to let the international community and foreign governments know about our position. This instruction was fulfilled. Our position remains unchanged,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

“Of course, we are concerned about the ongoing developments in Ukraine. Ukraine is an allied country, a brotherly nation. Honestly, the people of Ukraine do not deserve the things that are happening with them and their country. It is a heroic nation; the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians fought against fascism; we were together in the last war and we won that war. Therefore, taking into consideration our common historical background, our position is unambiguous,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The trade between Belarus and Ukraine has neared $7 billion. “This demonstrates the closest economic ties between Belarus and Ukraine,” the President remarked.

“I can ask a rhetorical question: what country and what government would not be concerned by this kind of developments in a neighboring state considering the close ties between them? Of course we are concerned,” the Belarusian leader added.

“There are politicians in Ukraine who have undertaken to address the problems of the Ukrainian people. We do not interfere. Moreover, we have not disrupted any relations with Ukraine, economic ties in the first place. We have always met the Ukrainian business halfway. The Premier has been instructed to control the process. He knows what to do. Not a single businessman, not a single manager involved in foreign economic activities would say Belarus has taken up some indecent position towards Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

“We have supplied and will continue supplying energy resources, food and other products to Ukraine. We are fully open to provide support to the Ukrainian people in this difficult time, including humanitarian assistance,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“I have been asked a lot lately — and the general public is not aware of it — one question: as a man, whose roots are buried between Chernihiv and Kyiv, what has to be done in Ukraine in order to overcome the crisis? As a joke I tell them not to stress themselves out but simply work. If you do not know what to do, let us take over the country and we will ensure stability, the unity of the nation, and the integrity of the state by the year end,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“But in the end they should just travel abroad a bit less. Instead they should take care of their own country and the wellbeing of their own people. We can give a hint how it should be done and can help if necessary,” the Belarusian President added.
“Since mass media are present here, including non-Belarusian ones, I would like to use the opportunity to make a statement regarding some leaks, which are supposed to scare us a bit. It is claimed that Lukashenko is afraid of a maidan because he has been recently talking a lot about what lessons can be learned from the Ukrainian events,” the President remarked.

“I do not try to hide it. A leader is a foolish one if he or she does not try to learn from some events. But one more time I would like to say that no maidan is going to happen in Minsk, there is no room for a maidan here. So, that is all the fear there is. We are not afraid of anything. Absolutely not. Even more so I am not afraid,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

“In Belarus there are no fundamental, conceptual, overarching reasons for such revolutions. And we all know the key reason, I have already mentioned it — the dreadful collapse of the economy and corruption that has led to the breakdown of the government. All the reasons were present for a revolution. It is the cause,” the President is convinced.

“We have not allowed it. And it is the greatest achievement of ours,” the head of state added.

"I reviewed the press this morning and saw that some start mocking at us saying that Lukashenko is not yielding to the pressure of the Kremlin, that he has been holding on," the President noted.

"No one pressurizes me, neither the Kremlin nor anyone else, and they never did, because firstly, it is futile or, as diplomats say, counterproductive. There is no point putting pressure on me,” the head of state stressed.

“I will defend the interests of our country and act strictly in accordance with our agreements, including the Union State treaty, where we have direct obligations, just like Russia does,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“Recently we have been in constant contact with the President of the Russian Federation, which we did not hide from the public. We discuss different issues of our relations. We cannot ignore this issue. It is in the center of attention of the President of Russia and the President of Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The head of state said that the West has recently been trying to intimidate Belarus by possible counteraction if Belarus lends support to Russia. The Belarusian President quoted a number of statements.

“By uniting efforts with Russia, Belarus will bring Russian power back to the borders of the former Soviet Union” - this signal comes from America. If we support Russia, it allegedly means that Russia will swallow Belarus and put its troops on the Polish border,” the head of state quoted.

“The second one from the United States: “Russia is dismembering a third former Soviet republic (following Moldova and Georgia). That should deliver a useful warning to nearby countries that are smaller and weaker than Ukraine, such as Armenia and Belarus,” the Belarusian leader continued.

“This one is from Canada: “How much time is left before Putin justifies the annexation of Pavlodar Oblast, North Kazakhstan Oblast and Akmola Oblast that have a significant Russian minority? Where is the guarantee that Belarus will not be absorbed by the Russian Federation,” the President quoted.

“You know, it is very cheap. If they seek to intimidate us, it is a very cheap way to do it. No need to frighten us. I would like to emphasize that we will act strictly in compliance with the legal framework we have with Russia. I have reiterated it on numerous occasions: we are the same people with Russians, just like with Ukrainians, we are parts of the same tree, we are Slavs and we will always be together,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

“However, we are not going to make fuss of it; we will not push for the escalation of any processes related to the Ukrainian events and the standoff between the West and the United States on the one hand, and Russia on the other,” the Belarusian leader remarked.

“We will defend the interests of our state and our people, and our neighbors, allies. Therefore, it is futile to intimidate us” the head of state said.

"We have lately seen the escalation of the conflict, and this is a fact already. This is not in Syria, not in Libya or Iraq. This is near our borders. It affects our interests, and we cannot sit like a mouse under the broom", Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

“But I emphasize again: we are not going to fuss, let alone go ballistic about it. We will respond adequately. If the Nato decided, together with the Americans to build up a group of the air force near our borders, we will not be watching and do nothing about it. They deployed additional half a dozen fighter-interceptors or some other aircraft in Lithuania, and they fly near our borders. I suggest we act appropriately. We are already acting. The Defense Minister has received my instruction, and it, as I was reported, is being implemented,” the President said.

“We were calm about it until the large-scale exercise in Poland’s south began and until Poland requested reinforcements and an increase in the scale of the exercise. I wonder why. Why does it have to happen now when things are not calm already in this region?” the President noted. “Moreover, I am told that more than ten additional aircraft were transferred yesterday’s evening, in the night, or this morning from Italy to the exercise area (after aircraft were relocated from the UK to Lithuania). We can clearly see an increase in tensions near our borders,” he added.

“We have to respond to it but absolutely adequately. It is no secret. Among other things we have a joint Belarusian-Russian military group in this direction, with the Belarusian army at its core. It has been done within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. The group has an action plan, including actions for this eventuality,” the Belarusian leader remarked.

“This is not a military conflict or a war. We are not going to announce mobilization or put our armed forces on combat alert. Yet we have to plan an appropriate response in such cases. This is the obligation of not only the Republic of Belarus but also the Russian Federation,” the head of state said.

“We have absolutely nothing to hide. Today I want to instruct the Defense Ministry (we worked through these issues before, knowing that anything can happen) to put an appropriate plan into operation. Since they are having an exercise near our borders... We started checking the combat readiness of our troops a long time ago, before the conflict. The first stage is over. The State Secretary will report on the results of the first phase. The second stage is still to go. I think, it is time for us to start the second phase of the inspection, and as part of this inspection, to deploy, if necessary, additional forces and to conduct appropriate exercises as our neighbors in Poland are doing,” the President said.

“We may not need the additional air force, but in line with the action plan the Russian Federation is supposed to support Belarus, including in terms of air force,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“If about 15 aircraft have been relocated from Italy, I think it is necessary to get in touch with the Chief of the General Staff of Russia and suggest a reinforcement of, let us say, 12-15 aircraft at most, which Russia is supposed to give us. The aircraft should be relocated to Belarus, patrol routes and backup routes should be determined the way it has been done for Belarusian aircraft and may they work, patrolling the skies. We have nothing to hide,” the Belarusian leader stated.

“We do not need to mobilize the Armed Forces. We have enough units ready for rapid response if necessary. They can be deployed on a short notice and they are fully equipped. Therefore there is no need for additional call-ups. We will do it, if needed, in a routine manner. We have enough combat-ready people in the Interior Ministry. We do not hide it. These are well-trained military people. If necessary, they, border troops will be involved. This is an algorithm of our actions which I as Commander-In-Chief set before our military,” the President said.

At the meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko also heard out reports from Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin and State Secretary of the Security Council Alexander Mezhuyev.
The Defense Minister informed the head of state about the military-political situation and the military-strategic environment evolving outside Belarusian borders. In particular, he said that preparations are underway for a NATO air force exercise in the northwestern direction in Lithuania and in the western direction in Poland. With this in mind another six combat aircraft have been added the four aircraft stationed at a Lithuanian airfield. As many as 12 combat aircraft are getting ready to redeploy to an airfield in Poland for the exercise.

Yuri Zhadobin informed the head of state about his proposals to bolster the Belarusian air defenses. On the whole, the proposals were approved. The head of state also gave instructions to verify the plan for interaction within the framework of the Belarus-Russia united regional air defense system for the sake of relocating the Russian component of up to 12 combat aircraft to our territory. It will be done soon.

Alexander Mezhuyev , for his part, informed the President about results of the first phase of the Belarusian army’s operational readiness test. “The test had three targets in mind: military control bodies, air force and air defense troops, special operations forces, and the organization of territorial defense in Miory District, Vitebsk Oblast,” explained Alexander Mezhuyev. In his words, as the results were summed up, close attention was paid to the drawbacks and shortages revealed during the test as well as the equipment and actions of combat units.