There is no way Belarus would send troops into Ukraine unless Kyiv is going to commit aggression against Belarus, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed on Thursday amid fears that Minsk will help facilitate a spring offensive by Moscow as Russia’s close ally.
Pointing out that Belarus knows what war is and doesn’t want war, Lukashenko – who has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin – however, added that the West must not forget that Russia is Belarus’ ally, legally, morally, and politically.
Meanwhile, Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced that the Russian president will meet with Lukashenko in the Moscow region on Friday.
Skillfully ducking questions from international media about Belarus’s complicity in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Belarusian strongman Lukashenko stressed that Moscow has never asked him to start a joint war in Ukraine.
Asked why Minsk continues to support Putin’s protracted and strategically questionable war, Lukashenko tried to turn the tables onto the West asking why it is supporting Ukraine and escalating the situation by pumping Kyiv with weapons instead of sitting down to negotiate.
He underscored Belarus’ support for peaceful negotiations, accusing at the same time Washington of preventing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from negotiating because, as he pointed out, the US is the only one who needs and wants this slaughter.
Allowing Moscow’s troops to enter Ukraine last February through the 1000km Ukrainian-Belarusian border to the north of Kyiv, Belarus helped Russia launch its initial invasion and has since repeatedly claimed – sometimes without providing evidence- that Ukrainian drones and missiles have entered its territory.
Citing such episodes as a provocation against its sovereignty, Belarus has prompted fears throughout the conflict that its territory will again be used as a launching ground for another Russian offensive or that Lukashenko’s own troops will join the war as tensions are mounting at the border again as Kyiv braces for a renewed attack.