Lukashenko Ready to Invite Russian Troops ‘If Necessary’
"NATO is systematically building up offensive military infrastructure along our borders"
Belarus would not hesitate to invite Russian troops if needed, President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday, although he said there was no need for them now.
Russia has maintained close military and economic ties with its ally Belarus, even as Western countries have ostracised the country since Lukashenko cracked down on mass protests following a contested presidential election last year.
Lukashenko said Belarus had coped with the unrest without any external forces and could muster around 500,000 personnel in a short period of time, but was prepared to bring in Russian armed forces if necessary.
“There is no need for that now. We have quite a strong, united and compact armed force…. If it is not enough, Russian armed forces will be introduced…. If it is necessary, we will not hesitate,” Belarus’ state-run news agency Belta cited Lukashenko as saying.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Belarus had made no approach requesting troops, and that Minsk would need to submit a formal request before any could be deployed.
Lukashenko talks about prongs of attack against Belarusian society
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the Belarusian state had turned out to be stronger than color revolution technologies. Belarusians have survived the impact of several stages of a color revolution. “And I want you to understand that everything we’ve been through is not spontaneous attacks but a consistent and coordinated policy of the West. Attempts to sway the society and disorient people continue and will continue along all the tactical approaches,” he stressed.
The first prong of attack. Military threats
“As a link between the West and the East our country is in the epicenter of a confrontation of civilizations. We don’t exaggerate. We state the facts: NATO is systematically building up offensive military infrastructure along our borders,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
In addition to the multinational forces that have been deployed in Eastern Europe a new army unit – the 18th mechanized division – is being formed in Poland near Belarus. This division will be armed with American Abrams tanks in their state-of-the-art modifications. Two battalions will be deployed virtually 20km from Brest, Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out.
“Yes, the security and defense system that has been built over the years of independence, the persistent peace-loving policy, international agreements create the groundwork for repulsing military threats,” he stressed.
The second prong of attack. Foreign political pressure
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated: “Attempts to discredit our country in the international arena have been incessant since August 2020. We see a series of senseless demonstrative demarches, particularly along the border perimeter.”
The president believes that pressure on partners of Belarus may be the next step. “In these conditions it is important for us to remain a reliable, consistent, and predictable international entity. It is important for us to honor agreements with friendly countries,” he stressed.
The third prong of attack. Attempts to destroy the economy with sanctions
The head of state noted that without an exaggeration Belarus has never faced restrictive measures on this scale. The West understands the damage the sanctions may cause to itself, this is why it introduces sanctions gradually.
“They are kind of trying to find our pressure points. They primarily target export branches of the Belarusian economy: petrochemical industry, mechanical engineering industry, potash industry, and the rest. But the key goal is to strip the people of their pensions, salaries, benefits, education, medical services, and cause discontent in Belarusians,” Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out.
The fourth prong of attack. Efforts to undermine from within
“You know when and how it started. It went as far as conspiracies, attempts to stage terrorist attacks, bomb threats. Those are parts of the same chain and do not represent their entire arsenal. As revealed facts demonstrate, all these actions have no real social foundation. The moderators are abroad. Those are our fugitives and their foreign handlers,” the president noted.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that they are working to achieve one goal – to create an illusion of disarray in the society, to keep people in tension constantly, to paint those who oppose them in the fight for Belarusian values and a socially-oriented policy as enemies.
The fifth prong of attack. Information attacks
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated: “Everyone should understand by now why biased information resources have been created all over the country: websites, Telegram channels, video blogs, groups in social networks, instant messaging apps. The entire Belarus was enwrapped with this web.”
“Systemic work to restore order in the information field is nearing completion. You have to understand that we are not fighting nonconformity or differences in opinion. God forbid. If we suppress different points of view under this pretext, we will perish, the country will perish. The freedom of speech that we defend according to the Constitution has evolved into extremist actions. And we will fight them harshly and decisively. We will not yield,” he stressed.
The president pointed out: “Criticizing the authorities is one thing. We’ve always adequately responded to criticism. We cannot say we loved criticism. Who does? Probably nobody. But we have to adequately accept criticism. But calling for riots and bloody murder for those, who do not support these so-called revolutionary moods, bandit moods, is another story. They try to instill an atmosphere of fear and mistrust with fake leaks, cyber-attacks, and access to personal data. They won’t succeed.”
The sixth prong of attack. Soft power
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated: “A clear pattern has been identified: if the number of non-for-profit organizations increases, it means preparations are in progress for a color revolution. Under the guise of charity and projects of social importance they pursue someone else’s political goals. The same thing happened in Belarus.”
There were about 1,500 various non-governmental foundations, private institutions, pseudo human rights organizations in Belarus. Measures have been taken and have revealed 185 destructive bodies that represented a potential threat to national security. Those included a representative office of a foreign non-for-profit organization, 71 nationwide and local public associations, and 113 institutions. Those are big figures, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
“There are dozens and hundreds of activists behind every destructive body, thousands of people influenced by them. For all intents and purposes a legal resource for destructive activities of foreign overseers, who selected and trained personnel, was created,” the head of state said.
Money was channeled via these foundations and other non-for-profit bodies. In order to mobilize people to stage protests, a number of NGOs released fake news, called for disobedience, taught radical citizens how to fight law enforcement personnel, and compiled black lists of people, who are devoted to the country. “You have to understand that these efforts would not have been limited to information propaganda and threats addressed to government supporters. These people were ready to start acting at the drop of a hat,” Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out.
According to the head of state, some commercial entities have embraced the tactics of non-governmental organizations. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that adequate measures had been taken and had produced results.