Lukashenko Says Belarusian Army Does Not and Will Not Take Part in Special Op in Ukraine
Kiev has repeatedly accused Minsk of taking part in what it calls a "Russian invasion". Russia launched a special operation to demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine on 24 February following the failure of the Minsk agreements and Kiev's threats to reverse the country's nuclear status.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said that the country's army has not and will not take part in Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. The latter has been underway since 24 February.
"And no matter how certain forces - you know which ones - try today to draw us into the hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, you [the citizens of Belarus] have no reason to worry", he said.
Lukashenko stressed that Belarusian forces are currently employed in guarding the nation's border against external threats. He added that special attention is being paid to the western and northwestern portion of the border with the EU.
"Our guys have tightly closed the border and reinforced outfits are guarding it, protecting our land, and not some land where, besides this conflict, some other undercover battles and wars are unfolding, spurred on by certain forces", Lukashenko said.
The president underscored that the country's military will fight and die protecting their homeland, but expressed hope it won't come to that.
Lukashenko thus once again rejected allegations by Ukraine that Belarus is aiding Russia in its special military operation, which Kiev calls an "invasion". The operation was ordered by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February. He said that Russia was left with no other choice after Kiev essentially gave up on fulfilling the Minsk agreements opting for a military option to resolve the conflict with the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR).
The Russian president outlined the goals of the operation as demilitarisation - the removal of weapons endangering Russia, including possibly nuclear devices that Kiev threatened to obtain, and to de-Nazify the country - removing nationalists from its leadership and defeating nationalist battalions.
Western nations slapped Russia with harsh economic sanctions in response to the start of the operation. They also imposed sanctions on Minsk, whom they accuse of aiding Moscow in the operation, despite Minsk denying it.
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