Lukashenko warns against any foreign aggression 

TEHRAN- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stressed that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is not trying to push Belarus into joining the war in Ukraine, dismissing such allegations by the United States and its closest allies.

"To involve Belarus … what will that give? Nothing," said Lukashenko, one of Russia’s many allies, whose country also borders Ukraine, Russia as well as three NATO states including Poland.

Lukashenko has also warned that Belarus would not hold back in its response in the event of any foreign aggression on the country, including the use of nuclear weapons that Moscow has stationed on Belarusian territory.
Last month, Russia deployed tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, a move that was denounced by Ukraine’s Western backers, in particular the United States. Critics, however, say the U.S. has deployed its nuclear weapons in many places beyond American borders.

"Nuclear weapons will not really be used, which we have in Belarus. Otherwise, why were they brought here? If there is no aggression against us. If there is an act of aggression against us, an attack on Belarus. We won't wait and so on. We'll use the whole arsenal of our weapons."

Outlining where the threat of an attack can arise, he said, "There can be only one threat – aggression against our country. If aggression against our country starts from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, we will respond instantly with everything we have."

Lukashenko has warned that Minsk will resort to other weapons as well, which he did not reveal, should Ukraine attack Belarusian territory or violates its sovereignty.

"Against Ukraine, if it commits aggression against us – not only nuclear weapons will be used. We have something besides nuclear weapons. And we will not warn you that if you cross the red lines, we will strike at the decision-making centers. This will be done without warning." Lukashenko warned.

"If you Ukrainians do not cross our border; we will never participate in this war. In this hot war. But we will always help Russia – they are our allies," he added in an interview with Diana Panchenko, a Ukrainian journalist.

Lukashenko also said he believed Moscow had already achieved its goals, in what Russia has branded a "special military operation" in Ukraine, saying that the time has come for the two sides to sit together and be ready to address all matters, including the future of Crimea and other Ukrainian territories that Moscow has claimed in eastern Ukraine where the majority of the population are ethnic Russians.

"The objectives of the SVO (special military operation in Ukraine) have now been accomplished. Ukraine will never behave so aggressively towards Russia after the end of this war as it did before the war. Ukraine will be different."

Lukashenko is of the belief that since Russia’s military mission has been accomplished, Kyiv will change its policy toward Moscow.

"Its goals have already been fulfilled to date. Ukraine will never behave so aggressively towards Russia after the end of this war, as it did before the war," Lukashenko argued.
He has called for peace talks to start without any preconditions, arguing that this is the only way to end the crisis.

"Negotiations should begin without preconditions. This is a classic of any diplomacy. I think so. We need to sit down at the negotiating table and discuss everything. And Crimea, and Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Lugansk. Everything there needs to be discussed," he said.

But Lukashenko noted that Russia will never let go of Crimea, where the locals voted in a referendum to join the Russian Federation in 2014.

"Of course, Russia will never give Crimea back to Ukraine. I still doubt that anything can be agreed upon that here in the east."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was forced to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine last year to protect its own security and territorial integrity against the U.S.-led NATO military alliance’s expansion toward Russian borders.
Putin also said the “special military operation” was needed to protect the native Russian speakers from what he called "neo-Nazis" and ultra-nationalists that have taken the helm in Kyiv.
Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed the Kremlin’s arguments, branding the war as a land grab attempt by Russia.
Lukashenko has also hit out at Volodymyr Zelensky, accusing the Ukrainian president of putting an end to talks between Kyiv and Minsk.

"Zelensky noticed some kind of threat to those who organized these talks. Political rivals. He forbade them to conduct this dialogue. I know that through special bodies, special services. Including the military with the Russians are conducting these negotiations in Ukraine. And the position of Russia to Ukraine, Ukraine to Russia. They have contacts. The Ukrainians have contacts with us (Belarus), they have contacts with Russia."
Belarus has long called for an end to the fighting in Ukraine and settling the crisis through peace talks, arguing the crisis has backfired on European states.

Belarus is not alone in its push to end the war. Countries in West and East Asia, Africa and Latin America have urged the warring sides to end the war. They have travelled to both countries presenting peace proposals.

The United States, which is cashing in on the suffering of the Ukrainians with lucrative arms and energy sales, stands accused of being the wedge between peace and war.
The U.S is doing so despite a recent survey highlighting the majority of Americans are against the pumping of weapons to the warzone.
Russia says the influx of Western weapons to Ukraine is only dragging the conflict instead of ending it. Putin has said that Moscow is not opposed to peace talks.

Source: Tehran Times

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