MINSK, Belarus ( Associated Press) — Belarus’ authoritarian leader defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said he was doing “everything” to stop the war, in a sit-down interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.
President Alexander Lukashenko also said he didn’t think Russia’s “operation” in Ukraine “would pull off like this.”
“But I am not so immersed in the problem as to say whether it goes according to plan, as the Russians say, or as it seems to me. I want to emphasize once more, it seems to me that This operation has gone ahead, ”said Lukashenko.
He also accused Ukraine of “provoking Russia” and insisted that Belarus stood for peace.
“We categorically do not accept any war. We have done everything and are doing everything now so that there is no war. Thanks to you, to me, that is, talks between Ukraine and Russia have begun, ”he said.
“But why is Ukraine, on whose territory there is a war, military action, people are dying, – why is Ukraine not interested in these negotiations?”
Russia deployed troops to Belarusian territory under the pretext of military drills and then sent them to Ukraine as part of the offensive that began on February 24.
Lukashenko publicly supported the operation, alleging in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in early March that Ukraine planned to attack Belarus and that Moscow’s offensive prevented it. He said he had brought a map to show Putin where the alleged attack was to take place, but did not provide any other evidence to support the claim.
Earlier this week, the Belarusian military announced a SNAP exercise that raised concerns in Ukraine. However, Lukashenko on Thursday assured Andhra Pradesh that there was no danger to anyone from the exercise.
“We do not threaten anyone and we are not going to threaten and will not do so. Moreover, we cannot threaten – we know who opposes us, so to start some kind of conflict, any kind of war here in the West is absolutely not in the interest of the Belarusian state. So that the West can sleep peacefully.”
Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the war https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine