Commemorative meeting at Brest Hero Fortress

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Address of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the ceremony of laying wreaths in Brest Hero Fortress

Dear Belarusians, compatriots,

Dear veterans, guests of our Belarus,

For all Belarusians 22 June 1941 is a day of remembrance and mourning, a date that divided the life of people into before and after. That summer Sunday morning became the terrible dividing line between peace and war, between light and darkness, life and death. An armed, ruthless armada moved onto our land, carrying death and slavery. Fascists spared neither old people nor babies. Аfter 9 May 1945, the Germans called that June day fatal for their nation. 80 years ago Hitler's killers intended to sail through Belarus with a victory march. They wanted to walk through our land as easily and quickly as they did through Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, France, Greece, Poland. They marched past solemnly all over the current European Union.

In early July friends and enemies of the USSR were wondering how long the country would last - two weeks, three, maybe a month? Berlin strategists were planning a fascist parade on Red Square in Moscow. But here, near the walls of the Belarusian Brest citadel, the Nazi blitzkrieg went off the tracks literally in the first hours of the war. Remember this ‘word blitzkrieg’. It failed when, in the last minutes of his short life, a soldier scribbled on the wall: "I'm dying, but not giving up! Farewell, Motherland!

Today, unfortunately, the names of many defenders of the Brest Fortress still remain unknown and we do not know how they died, where they were buried.

Just a few weeks ago the last witness of those events, Piotr Kotelnikov, passed away. His name will always live in the memory of the people, along the names of his combat comrades Lieutenant Kizhevatov, Captain Zubachev, Major Gavrilov and thousands of other Soviet heroes. They did not allow the Nazis to take a stronghold over the Bug River in eight hours. Three weeks later, the Nazis were approaching to Smolensk, but the Brest Fortress continued fighting.

Dear friends, they were terrible times. A lot of people were killed, even more people went missing. Let’s honor the memory of heroes who sacrificed their lives to save peace, freedom and independence with a minute of silence.

The invaders (almost all of Europe fought against the Soviet Union) did not understand then why even in the most desperate situations the Soviet soldiers did not give up, how they were able to survive and eventually win. The descendants of those who in the 1940s were advancing through the Belarusian land towards Moscow, burning houses and destroying people on the way, do not understand us today. They wonder why we still exist on this land as a state. Apparently, they can't understand it.

Huge financial resources were thrown at the "color blitzkrieg" in Belarus. Over the past year, we have been subjected to the most advanced hybrid warfare technologies. Belarusians have started asking: the war is looming? Come on, Belarusians. We've been at war for a long time. It's just that the war has taken on different forms. There will be no more wars, they will not push their troops through this gate [Brest fortress]. Today the war begins from within the state.

Take a look at any color revolution, which has been organized in recent decades: they have done everything to explode society from the inside. And then they [the West] will come to ‘save’ us. Scenarios have been written, roles have been assigned. We just turned out to be stronger and wiser. I dare say, even stronger than our predecessors in 1941, because we determine our own destiny. We are here to decide whether to provoke them or not, whether to wait until they break through and tear us apart or not. We are a sovereign, independent state, and will continue to be so.

European countries expect Belarus to assist in combating illegal migration. But in fact, people are now running to Europe from the countries that the West itself has destroyed. Today they complain that Belarusians do not protect them.

They demand that we protect them from smuggling and drug trafficking. Even across the Atlantic we hear the calls for help to detain nuclear materials so that they do not get to Europe. I want to ask them: have you gone crazy there? You are waging a hybrid war against us and demand that we help you as we did before? You are strangling us, systematically and collectively, ruining us, trying to kill our economy and expect us to spend hundreds of millions of US dollars, as before, to protect your geopolitical interests? Only insane people would think that and expect us to support them.

If Europe wants assistance from Belarus in these areas, it should also take steps towards the country, instead of trying to strangle the country. This is futile. You are too late, ladies and gentlemen.

We did not expect one country to participate in this collective conspiracy - Germany whose ancestors killed every third Belarusian in the Great Patriotic War and millions of unborn children.

80 years have passed and what? A new hot war. Look: isn’t is symbolic? Yesterday they imposed economic sanctions against our people and businesses. On 22 June, at night. Indeed, they did not learn anything from their past.

All those 80 years after 1945 the Germans were begging the world, Europe, the former Soviet Union for forgiveness. They were repenting, sobbing, on their knees, asking to open monuments, to bury the still unburied Germans - fascists who came to our land. We were kind and tolerant. We who were tormented opened their hearts and souls and treated them in a humane way. And what did we get in return?

I will quote the German foreign minister as saying that the sanctions should be extended to sectors of the Belarusian economy. This can be interpreted as ‘let them die there’. So I would like to ask him: Mr. Maas, who are you? A German who was repenting yesterday or an heir to the Nazis? Who are you? Please, answer publicly. At least to your people.

There is no need repenting in public for the sins of your predecessors. These repentances, which we recently heard in Trostenets from the presidents of Austria and Germany are worthless. No words will hide the plans you are hatching.

You must do more than just repent. You must kneel before the Belarusian people for another 100 years thanking us for a chance to be born after that war. You must do everything to heal the war wounds in our hearts and souls. You must not strangle us. You, the Germans, the Poles, the so-called European Union, must carry us in your arms. Because we saved you from the brown plague. You would have been slaves along the Soviet people should they had prevailed.

Belarus should not be lulled by stories about NATO’s exercises being defensive and the alliance being a peace-loving organization. We have had enough of this since 1941. We believed them and did not learn our lessons by giving them Eastern Europe (the so-called Warsaw Pact countries) in exchange for their promises to never take a step in our direction and to never expand NATO eastward. They are liars as minimum and rascals as maximum. They lied and cheated but today you won't succeed.

Belarusians will do everything to protect their land and peace in the region. Our sons, who stand here under the flags of the winners, will do everything to ensure that you live a peaceful life on your land. You - Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians, Poles, Jews, Tatars. Everyone who lives here on this land. This is your land. You will not feel home anywhere else and do not believe their promises that you will be accepted there with open arms. Belarusians, this is your land, take care of it, appreciate it. Because it doesn't belong just to us. It belongs to our children and grandchildren.

The collective West is still dreaming of ‘Drang nach Osten’, world domination and capturing the rich resources east of Belarus. We see it perfectly clear. After the war there was no one to restore the economy from the ruins. In his words, the country has not yet recovered from that demographic catastrophe.

The information warfare did not bring the expected results. Now they have proceeded to an economic war. I would like to know what is next. Intervention? It will cost you dear. Well-groomed politicians on the other side of the border are lying through their teeth when saying that the Belarusians themselves are begging for sanctions. They say that the Belarusians are prepared to suffer for the sake of some ephemeral ‘bright future’ that these ‘kind’ people will bring them on the tips of their bayonets. You have lost your way. Please wake up!

There was a number of cases in history, when the Belarusians were promised a lot, including freedom and independence and a new state on the tips of bayonets. “What were the results? Every third Belarusian perished in the last war. The number of people physically and mentally injured was countless!

Sanctions, provocations... I want to ask: are you doing it on purpose? Do you want to test our borders for reliability and the new generation of Belarusians for patriotism? Well, dare try it.

The region, like 80 years ago, is on the verge of a large conflict. "I appeal, first of all and once again, to the peoples of our neighboring countries - Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Ukrainians. Wake up before it's too late. Bring to senses these politicians, who have gone mad losing touch with reality. Look what a beautiful world it is. We always lived peacefully with each other, in a neighborly way, shared a piece of bread, visited each other. Let's stop at this last line: tomorrow it will be too late.

Are there anyone from among Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Poles, to whom Belarusians have always had a warm regard, who are ready to sacrifice their peaceful life for the sake of madness and ambitions of individual leaders of these states, politicians who really do not care about the Belarusian people or their peoples, their future and the Belarusian statehood?

Once again I would like to say to those who still do not get it yet. Understand this once and for all: We will not give away our native land, independence and sovereignty to anyone. We will hold out in any case!

The world is not limited to the European Union today. There are enough responsible countries and entire regions, with which we will continue to cooperate closely. We are the descendants of the great generation that gave us life, freedom and independence. Dear Belarusians, remember those who died during the war and are now watching from the heavens over the actions of their descendants.

This holy army even today helps us to preserve our Belarus. It helps, first of all, by the example of unbending steadfastness, courage and selflessness they showed during the Great Patriotic War.

Today we glorify the feat of our people, honor veterans and mourn the dead, bow our heads to the heroes and innocent victims of war. Remember: this memory is sacred and immutable, and as long as we have it, we will live, live with dignity, not on our knees. This is how it is, how it should be and how it will always be!