7th Belarusian People’s Congress, Day 2

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Belarusian President, Chairman of the Belarusian People’s Congress Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the meeting of the Congress on 25 April.

The head of state noted that the delegates had heard more than once that the military and political situation in the region and the world is assessed by experts as a crisis that has the potential to spill over into a global conflict. On the first day of the meeting on 24 April, the President spoke in detail about the reasons for the new round of confrontation between the West and the East.

“Today we’ll talk about the forces and means that are used to intensify threats to our national security. The main real risk is having a hot spot in the region, in Ukraine ,of course. Washington is doing everything to drag our country into the conflict, to launch a mechanism to involve other states into it, in other words, to weaken both Western Europe and Eastern Europe,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

Describing the situation on the front, the head of state recalled heavy fighting and loss of life, a shortage of ammunition and military personnel in the Ukrainian army. He also mentioned drone strikes on Russian infrastructure, financial and military assistance from the United States. “Withholding this money means missing out on the opportunity to weaken us and Russia,” the President said. “The allocation by the USA of $60 billion for the war is the most important factor contributing to the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. And it is very dangerous that long-range missiles were provided.”

On the other hand, the Russian army is equipped with new weapons and has large reserves in each brigade, the President remarked. The Russian military is inching forward, although this progress is very slow, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “A kind of zugzwang has set in - neither they, the Ukrainians, nor the Russians...” he noted.

“We see a so-called zugzwang on both sides today. Yes, there is some movement forward, but that is not the movement of the desired scale. It is a stalemate. What should be done in this situation?” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the President, this is the best situation for peace talks today. It would be good to start with the Istanbul agreements, the head of state believes. “This does not necessarily mean that these agreements initialed by the parties will be adopted or used as the basis for a peace treaty. No. But it is possible to start with them and move forward. Of course, the peace treaty will not be a copy of these agreements. The peace treaty will be different, but it is a good place to start,” the head of state said.

“All the military, heads of the Western intelligence services, politicians and heads of state are publicly saying that Putin should not be allowed to win. If you insist on this, then this is the very moment for negotiations. Strike a draw at this stage,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. Do not push the hardline solutions such as Volodya Zelensky's peace formula. It seems patriotic but it is not viable. Russians are not going to give up Crimea or the eastern regions. If unacceptable proposals are put forward, it means that the party that puts them forward is not ready to negotiate.”

“I know the mood of the Ukrainian military: they are already fed up with this war. They cannot take independent decisions, because President Zelensky, who wants to fight to the last Ukrainian, has NATO troops and the entire Western European bloc and the United States of America behind him. The situation is alarming. In my opinion, however, if Ukraine does not negotiate, it will lose its statehood over time and may cease to exist,” the Belarusian leader said. “Ukraine needs peace today. Ukrainians fleeing the country to avoid the recruitment testifies to the fact. No one wants to fight today, so it is high time for peace.”

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, 18 NATO countries, including Poland and the Baltic states, intend to spend at least 2% of their GDP on military matters this year. Some have already made it more than 3% of GDP. “The total volume of defense spending by NATO countries this year will amount to about €1.2 trillion for the first time in the history of the bloc,” the President stressed.

Brussels has decided to increase the number of rapid-reaction response forces to 300,000 troops (currently it is 80,000), to transform NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission into a military operation, as well as to reorganize the combat groups deployed in Poland and the Baltic states up to “brigade levels”. “They kept reproaching us for placing nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus: “This means we will be subjected to the first strike if there is a clash.” Poland and the Baltics have given up their territories for complete militarization and transformation into strongholds for an attack in the east,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“In this context, it should be noted that the German-Lithuanian agreement, which provides for the German military build-up in Lithuania, begins its implementation. On 8 April, a task force of the German Armed Forces was redeployed to Vilnius. It is tasked with studying the locations where the contingent will be stationed, making preparations for the formation of the brigade headquarters, which is to be completed by the end of the year. Reconnaissance, guidance and deployment,” the head of state said.

In his words, a brigade-level formation of the German Armed Forces would be deployed in Lithuania until 2028, as well as the forces and means of NATO's Combined Armed Forces currently stationed in Lithuania’s Rukla as part of the Forward Presence Battlegroup operation. The number of the compound will make up some 5,000 troops.

“I would like to reiterate that above 64,000 military of the U.S. Armed Forces (almost the size of the Belarusian army), as well as more than 33,000 NATO soldiers are permanently stationed in Europe. What are they doing here? What America are they defending here? Up to 20,000 of them are concentrated in Poland (close to our borders) and in the Baltic states. These troops are equipped with modern strike weapons and are capable of carrying out precision strikes on objects in Belarus and western regions [Russia]. They are conducting the relevant exercises now. The U.S. Air Force strategic bomber aircrafts, which regularly fly in the European continental region (for example, four American strategic bombers B-1B are stationed in Spain) are being used to train nuclear bombing, including on the territory of our country. They are training to use nuclear weapons,” the Belarusian leader said.

“This is an answer to those abroad, especially our self-exiled opposition, who criticize us for deploying nuclear weapons here,” the President stressed.