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12th Apr 2024

Belarus 'war' comments prompt EU rebuke

  • Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko (l) with Russian president Vladimir Putin (Photo: Kremlin.ru)
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The EU says it is equipping itself to face down threats coming from Belarus and Russia, following fresh comments that Minsk wants no conflict but is still preparing for war.

The statement on Tuesday (2 April) by the spokesperson of the European Commission, Peter Stano, comes as the pro-Russian regime in Minsk ratchets up its rhetoric.

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"We are taking precautions in the European Union since at least from the day of the Russian aggression against Ukraine," said Stano.

And he directed comments towards Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, describing him as an imposter who stole the elections and is complicit in the crimes committed by Russia against Ukraine.

"We are working on making Europe best equipped to face all the threats that are coming from people like Lukashenko or Putin," the EU spokesman said.

Belarus state news agency Belta had earlier on Tuesday quoted Lukashenko as saying that the country was preparing for war.

"Don't believe anyone that we want to fight. We are preparing for war, and I am talking about this frankly. If you want peace, prepare for war," he had said.

He also said Belarus posed no threat to any nation, despite allowing Russian forces to stage attacks against Ukraine from within its territory.

Belarus has also agreed to host Russian nuclear weapons.

"We do not need to threaten anyone. We don't want someone else's land. God grant us to process this one," Lukashenko said.

His statements were made as Belarus kicked off three days of military drills in regions bordering Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine.

And last week, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said reports had emerged that Russia and Belarus were also increasing joint production of high-end technology, likely as part of Russia sanctions-evasion schemes.

But Lukashenko was also described by critics as a Putin lackey and a sideshow to the Ukraine war, which is now more than two years in the running.

Analysts say Lukashenko has attempted to distance himself from the conflict, but remains reliant on Russia.

Last week, Lukashenko also said those behind the Crocus music hall massacre in Moscow had attempted to flee to Belarus and not Ukraine, in comments that contradicted Kremlin spin.

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