MINSK, 5 May (BelTA) – Tensions around Belarus have been whipped up even more fiercely recently. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement in an interview with Associated Press, BelTA has learned.
The reporter noted that Belarus' Armed Forces launched a surprise inspection of response forces on 4 May. He wondered whether the inspection was in some way related to events in Ukraine.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I don't know why you've singled out this aspect. Maybe because these are the latest actions of our Armed Forces. They may not be related so much to the special operation in Ukraine than to actions of your armed forces, the NATO bloc (particularly in Poland and the Baltic states) and to rising tensions around Belarus. I'd say tensions around Belarus are being whipped up even more fiercely recently. And naturally the Armed Forces – I say it plainly to you – are forced to respond to it.”
The president pointed out that NATO had previously launched war games in Poland and the Baltic states. But the alliance chose not to share information about the war games. “We have enough capabilities to learn about it. And we've learned about your exercises near our borders. We saw that countries of the NATO bloc, including the United States of America, the UK, are redeploying troops towards our border. Their number totaled 3,000 several years ago. Now it is 32,000,” the head of state said. “This is why we cannot but respond.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko also noted that taking into account events in Ukraine the Belarusian army is carrying out special measures in the country's south. “In order to cover our southern border from various kinds of misunderstandings. I think we'll manage to avoid all kinds of misunderstandings not only in the south but also in the west of Belarus,” he summarized.