Meeting with high-ranking officials of Belarus’ Defense Ministry

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with high-ranking officials of the Defense Ministry on 10 March.

“We have gathered here to discuss important issues related to maintaining the country’s military security in the future. The situation in the region and its possible developments suggest that in the near and medium term, the threats to our country’s military security will remain high,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President emphasized that in order to maintain the security of the country he and the Defense Ministry should ensure the adequate level of combat readiness and combat capability of the Belarusian Armed Forces. “Things will not be quiet,” the head of state noted.

"Mercenaries in neighboring states, especially in Ukraine, is something that I have always been concerned about the most (I want to bring this matter to your attention, especially the head of our special operations forces). Our intelligence has learned, from several sources, that such mercenaries are moving parallel to the Belarusian-Ukrainian border towards Chernobyl," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state instructed the military and border guards to prevent violation of the state border. "We must see them, first of all, using your capabilities. As we understand, there are almost no border guards on the territory of Ukraine now. No one is guarding it, except for Belarusian border guards. Therefore, your task, the task of intelligence is to monitor what is happening in the adjacent territory, especially in terms of mercenaries," the President said. “We must prevent the violation of the state border, especially by these people first of all. You know what kind of people they are."

“We must move in parallel with them. They are moving in small groups there, which complicates the situation. You however need to see them all, how and where they are going. You must track their movement without violating the state border with Ukraine. Report on any developments and their intentions,” the commander-in-chief instructed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus cannot let anyone stab the Russian Armed Forces in the back. “We need to do everything necessary to prevent them from cutting the supply routes of the Russian army, to prevent them from hitting Russian people from behind,” the head of state stressed.

The head of state said that the previous evening he had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian counterpart updated him on the situation in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

“We can see it on our own, and their information coincides with ours: the supply of electricity to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was discontinued. You understand very well that the power plant does not only produce electricity, it also consumes a lot of electricity in order to operate. It is true, the Chernobyl station was decommissioned and there is a nuclear waste storage facility there. And the process requires cold water, at least for cooling. Therefore, electricity is needed, but it was cut off,” the President said.

The head of state explained that reserve generators are currently being used at the station, but their capacity is limited. Belarusian specialists were sent there to establish power supply to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. “The energy minister was instructed to deal with it and to immediately supply electricity there. We have a power transmission line since the Soviet times, it was mothballed. It must be brought back to operation immediately. In line with the temporary scheme, this electricity will probably have to be supplied to the substation of the Chernobyl power plant in order to ensure the safety of the plant. We need to consider all options,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also set a task for the military and border guards to keep an eye on the actions of mercenaries detected on the territory of Ukraine. According to intelligence, they are moving along the border with Belarus in the direction of Chernobyl. “We don’t know why they are heading towards the Chernobyl station,” he added.

“We are also facing a tense situation with refugees from Ukraine. People are coming from Ukraine. These are poor people. They are not coming in Mercedes cars here. They are coming here on bicycles, on foot. They are bringing children and elderly people to our territory,” said the head of state.

“I will ask, first of all, Brest and Gomel governors to supervise the situation. Once again, we need to offer them anything we can provide they with. Those people have had nothing to eat for three days and more. Their children are hungry,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"Problems will not be fewer. We have to forecast them.  I would like to repeat we are not going to provoke anyone. But we must say: once our border is violated, the response will be immediate," the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus has a compact capable army, the state is taking measures to re-equip the Armed Forces with new types of weapons. The training of troops is being improved, exercises are conducted regularly.

"Our army needs to take into account the modern experience of military operations. I want to hear your opinion on the situation in Ukraine and what this experience teaches us," the President said. “The specifics of the military operation in Ukraine has already shown. We have the information about the continued military build-up near the western border of Belarus."

According to the head of state, Ukraine is restoring the protection of certain sections of the border.

"We have yet to summarize and study the experience of the operation in Ukraine. We will have to. But we must take some measures today," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.