Special meeting with the military
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted a special meeting with the military on 24 February.
“It is no secret that last night, yesterday evening, the situation along the western and southern border of Belarus changed dramatically. I am grateful to all of you: I know that none of you slept that night, we had to get ready, to think how we should act and what to say to our people. At night we scheduled this meeting,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President pointed to NATO's intensive military buildup along the borders of Poland and the Baltic states with Belarus. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, groups of forces are being amassed near Belarus and they are down to enter Belarus and attack Russia. A few days ago, speaking at a solemn reception in the Palace of the Republic, Aleksandr Lukashenko warned the West that he would not allow it to hit Russia in the back through Belarus. “We will not be traitors, and we will not allow you to shoot the Russian people in the back,” he emphasized again.
“Late at night, I instructed you to think of a response in case someone would lose their marbles and want to carry out this maneuver. Here is the map in front of me, it was drawn by the General Staff overnight. I mentioned it as I talked with Putin in the morning. I said: We see and understand well what is going on there. Therefore, we need to protect this border section so that we would not get hit in the back,” the President said.
The head of state noted that part of the Russian group of forces that remained in Belarus after the military drills would help, if necessary, to protect the western border. This was confirmed by the Russian leader in the conversation with Aleksandr Lukashenko: “That is what he said, verbatim: I promise you and swear to you that any attack on Belarus will mean an attack on Russia.”
"They said that ‘at about 5a.m. the state border of Ukraine with Russia and Belarus was attacked by Russian troops that are supported by Belarus.’ Scumbags! Our troops are not taking any part in this operation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
At the same time, the head of state said: "We will not make excuses about our involvement or noninvolvement in this conflict. I repeat: our troops are not there. But if such need arises, if Belarus and Russia need this, they will be there."
The Belarusian head of state recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized a special military operation in the Donbass. Early this morning the leaders of Belarus and Russia discussed the developments in this region in a telephone conversation. “He provided me with all the details of the situation and, most importantly, the ongoing developments. According to him, the purpose of the operation is clear: to stop the genocide of the people in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.
According to the Belarusian President, after the joint military drills, some Russian troops remained in the territory of Belarus. He explained why such a decision was made: “it was done to avoid insinuations: during the last meeting with Putin in Moscow, I personally suggested leaving a certain number of Russian troops in the south of Belarus. Why? I am not ashamed to say that we were not ready to protect the southern border in this situation, since Ukrainian troops (military units, not border guards) advanced to the border and began to conduct maneuvers there. We saw this, but we never had troops there. Therefore, I suggested leaving a small part [of Russian troops] there, at the southern border, until we replace them with our Armed Forces,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Putin agreed. That is what he said: “You are right, we should leave them. This will be another reason for crazy politicians in Ukraine to draw some conclusions. Maybe they will realize that they need to sit down at the negotiating table and talk about peace. Fraternal peoples should not fight.” That is what we agreed on. We did not discuss preparations for any war against Ukraine. I emphasize once again: it was done to prompt, as he said, the Ukrainians, the leadership and politicians of Ukraine, to once again draw conclusions and understand that these issues must be addressed at the negotiating table,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the military leadership of Ukraine had held talks with their Belarusian counterparts twice. The last conversation was held after the meeting of the presidents of Belarus and Russia in Moscow. The Ukrainian side was notified of the details of the talks between the two heads of state.
“Just before the start of the operation, he [a representative of the military leadership of Ukraine] requested a call. I suggested you talk to him. You told him, on my instruction, that following the meeting with President Putin, the Belarusian President would recommend you to contact the defense minister and the Russian General Staff immediately. Did he call them? No, he didn't. He, knowing that a conflict could break out, did not even bother to call Moscow. Listen, there were cases in history when Khrushchev called Kennedy at night and they averted a thermonuclear war. Yet, he did not bother to pick up a phone and give a call. Scoundrel!" Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Yesterday the border guard commander told me that Ukraine’s state border had been reinforced. In what way? Five men instead of two per duty unit. Well, I told him to keep watching, we will see what happens next. Late in the evening he called me to report that there are no personnel on the Ukrainian side of the border. They had fled. There were no border guards on that side at the time the [Russian special] operation began.”
According to the President, such facts, which are hidden from mass media, indicate that Ukraine wanted this conflict. “They did nothing to prevent it. They constantly hyped up tensions. Even after the recognition of these republics. Stop! Who are you going to fight against? A most powerful nuclear power. Why would you do it? No, it’s all the same. Do you think they don’t understand that they are not ready for a war with Russia? They understand it. I wonder why they strain relations. Because they are encouraged to start a war with bayonet pricks from behind. So they went ahead with the war. And they got a response,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “They were told what had to be done point by point. They didn’t do it. Which means they wanted this war. And now may they find out who had been encouraging them towards it. Although it is not that difficult to puzzle it out.”