In an interview to Dmytro Gordon in August 2020, Aliaksandr Lukashenka said there would never be an attack on Ukraine from Belarus. However, it is from Belarusian airfields that Russian helicopters and fighter jets are flying into Ukraine, and tanks are coming – there are already quite a few relevant facts. Meanwhile, the illegitimate dictator keeps saying that Belarus is not involved in this war.

On February 24, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported that the country had been attacked by Russia and Belarus. Lukashenka denied this information at a meeting with the Belarusian military: “Here’s what I read: ‘Around 5 am, the Ukrainian state border in the Russia-Belarus section was attacked by Russian troops backed by Belarus. The scoundrels are extreme! Our troops don’t take part in this operation, our troops are not there. But if Belarus and Russia need, they will be there. How much time has passed, you have spoken to the Defence Minister of Ukraine, you told him all this in the same way. He has not even called Moscow knowing there might be a conflict”. The dictator said he was ready to put weapons “which make them sober” on the lines.

On February 26, after the competition in Raubichi, Lukashenka gave an interview to state media reporters. He said the countries should sit down at the negotiating table: “Tomorrow, there will be a war, and the day after tomorrow, there will be a meat grinder. That is why if they have brains – these various wackos – let them make a decision, let them sit down at the table. If Russia has pushed them for the third time in recent days and if Russia gives their agreement, and they have already agreed to the conditions that Russia is offering today, why are we hesitating, because people are dying! It is first of all. And tomorrow maybe no one will need to negotiate. Maybe, the winner country (you must have no doubt what can happen) simply will not talk to anyone”.

Lukashenka also drew attention to the fact that they are already trying to present Belarus as a party to the war: “Everybody from Japan to America is trying to pin us to this war. They are already imposing sanctions on us. It seems that these people – a gang, as Putin said, the IOC announced that we were almost taking part in the war. They were looking for a reason. It is clear that the ocean called them and told them how to operate. So they are beginning to act. But we will survive this.

On March 1, during a meeting with the members of the Security Council and the leadership of the Council of Ministers, Lukashenka admitted that he had asked Putin to leave some Russian troops in Belarus. “In the current situation, I asked the president of Russia to leave only some forces to cover the Gomel direction. Because in the middle of our border with Ukraine there are impassable thickets and swamps, rivers. We have enough forces to cover the Brest direction. There is a good brigade deployed there, and not only that. But Gomel direction and others… We never intended to go to war with Ukraine and never thought Ukraine would threaten us. We have never deployed our Armed Forces there”.

According to the illegitimate dictator, Russia was planning to withdraw troops at his request: “I promised the Russian president: take these troops back when we have our plan… We raised the issue of creating a southern operational area months before Russia conflicted with Ukraine. We had a public meeting under my leadership, and we decided what military forces, troops and equipment should be there. It was planned. We did not have enough time to do it. And in general, we had planned to stretch it out for two years, understanding that we have nothing to share with Ukraine. But, alas, if this is the policy, we have to defend ourselves”.

Lukashenka also said that he gave an order to strengthen the border in the Ukrainian direction: “We were reinforcing our border troops, we created manoeuvre groups, and General Lappo was instructed to cover the state border with Ukraine as much as possible. I must say that you managed it successfully. But the situation required reinforcement of the army contingent in the southern direction. Let me stress it once again: that is why I asked Putin to hold back some units, especially in Mozyr and Gomel directions”.

According to Lukashenka, such measures were taken because Ukraine had built up its armament on the Belarusian border: “They have deployed subversive groups in a very strong way now. And we have information that they are aimed at infiltrating subversive groups on our territory. Heavy missile weapons, including “Tochka-U”, have been brought to our border, which has never been typical of Ukraine. Our generals have taken preventive actions, and instead of five, we are deploying ten tactical groups. Tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, one, two at a time, we will be building up our efforts on the southern border to ten. These groups are highly trained. They are ready to suppress any provocation and any military action against Belarus”. The illegitimate dictator categorically denied any involvement of the Belarusian army in the situation in Ukraine: “The Belarusian army has not and is not taking any part in the hostilities. We can prove it to anyone. Moreover, the Russian leadership has never asked us about our involvement in an armed conflict. We are not going to take part in this specific operation in Ukraine. There is no such need”.

On March 3, speaking to Belarusian women, Lukashenka announced that Belarus wanted to be pushed into the war in Ukraine: “On purpose, so that we would bare our other borders. And then they will deal with us quickly, and we won’t even have time to return from Ukraine to protect you. It is a tactic. Their strategy is to deal with Russia and with us. So that, they do not start again like in August 2020: what if they can resist? There will be plenty of lies and fakes around our country. I repeat: we know what they want. We are ready for it”.

On March 4, at the signing of the republican referendum, Lukashenka said that the Belarusian army had not participated in the Russian war in Ukraine. “The hybrid war that has been launched against Belarus, especially the sanctions war in economy and finance, is a long time coming. They have got a firm grip on us. What we have talked about for two hours today with President Putin. They have got a grip on us and will not let us go until, as they think, they have dealt with us. You have to understand. They are pushing us into the war in Ukraine. If only we would interfere now in this conflict, where we are not expected, it would be a gift for them”. On the same day, the dictator said that Belarus was covering “with its forces the state border from Brest to Mozyr”.

According to Lukashenka, the blame for the war lies with the West. “All these public statements are just gibberish! They need the conflict in Ukraine, the longer – the better, to drown Russia in it”. On March 5, the dictator specified that the West would apologize to Russia and Belarus in a year: “You see these crazy sanctions against Russia in Europe, and we are there for the company… So any project anywhere in Russia – they support us, and we will implement them. We will be patient. We will bear with them for a year, and then you will see, they will come to us, apologize and ask us to cooperate with them”.

We emphasize that Lukashenka’s point of view does not correspond to the opinion of the majority of Belarusians who are against the illegitimate regime. We consider Russia and Putin personally an enemy, a murderer and an international criminal, rather than a friend and a wise politician. Unfortunately, we are not sure that the Belarusians will not go to kill Ukrainians at the order of the dictator. He can pressurise or use cronies, threaten with a tribunal. But the soldiers have a chance to save themselves: leave the country and ask for political asylum in the EU or surrender, if they are already in Ukraine. It is why we launched the campaign #NoMeansNo – perhaps women’s calls not to go to war will make men think twice and lay down their arms.