MINSK, 31 March (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko named the root cause of the developments in Ukraine as he delivered his annual Address to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly on 31 March, BelTA has learned.
“Don't the people of Ukraine need peace? But who cares about the opinion of this very people? That's what this whole ‘independence' is about. No matter what we discuss, no matter what ongoing developments we analyze, everything boils down to the situation in Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the president, he has always been in the thick of the Ukrainian crisis and has been involved in these events like no one else. “I am still involved, I am still there. Maybe even more than some of those who were supposed to be in the know about the causes and consequences of this conflict,” he added.
According to the head of state, neither Russia nor Belarus staged a coup in fraternal Ukraine in the middle of the 2010s. “That launched the countdown to what is happening now. Chaos engulfing the government, exorbitant corruption, poverty of the majority of the population, unacceptable nationalism with elements of fascism, the ban on the Russian language, eradication of everything that had to do with the Soviet period and the heroic past: demolition of monuments, renaming of streets and glorification of murderers of civilians in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. We cannot agree to and put up with this,” the president recalled.
Back then, the main foreign policy trend in Ukraine revolved around aspirations to join NATO and a proposal for the bloc to place its military bases on the territory of the country, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. This was done cautiously, under the guise of training centers.
“Given the extreme security threat, the Russian Federation was forced to take emergency measures and to incorporate Crimea. Pay attention: it was done without firing a single shot. What happened there and why the Ukrainians did not heroically defend their native land will have to be analyzed in the future. The events in eastern Ukraine - Donbass - became a continuation of the policy of destroying everything Russian. The ideology of fascism is put into practice: murder of dissidents and arsons that set people ablaze (recall Odessa). The extermination of the Russian population, provocations against Russia and its leadership forced the president of the Russian Federation to take action to protect the Russian people,” the Belarusian leader said. “And a confrontation broke out in the east of Ukraine, which led to the loss of human life,” he added.
The head of state recalled that back then there were voices in Russia who demanded that their president should put an end to “the genocide of the Russian people in Donbass”. “You kept pushing the Russian authorities towards taking action. And what now? What has happened? Why have you changed your mind so fast and used all possible ways to get out of Russia instead of helping the Russian people in Donbass?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.
The president recalled that in those circumstances, the leadership of Ukraine rejected all peace proposals. And when the Minsk talks came to be, it turned out (we know it now) that the West just sought to win time to militarize Ukraine and provide its army with weapons. That was admitted by the former leaders of Germany and France. “Those were not negotiations. It was a cover, it was a deception. It marked the beginning of preparations for a full-scale war with Russia. Being fully aware that a war was looming, the leadership of the Russian Federation demanded security guarantees from the sponsors of Ukraine's transformation into anti-Russia. We know how it all ended,” the head of state added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he recently had to discuss this topic with “certain influential circles of the leading countries of the West”. They, as before, declined Russia's proposals as hollow saying that they could not accept them. “If this proposal was not serious and was meaningless (after all, Putin asked to give written guarantees), why didn't you give these written guarantees to him? When the war was looming, why didn't you provide these guarantees at least on paper? No response,” the president said.