MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) – Occupation of Belarus will never happen under the current government, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said while approving the decision on the state border protection for 2022 on 24 January, BelTA has learned.
“I have never stooped to the level of arguing with my opponents and rivals, but today, having received a media review, I was surprised to learn that ‘Belarus had been occupied'. As the commander-in-chief, I have overlooked it somehow. Maybe you have failed to tell me that ‘the occupation of Belarus' has already taken place?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked ironically Chairman of the State Border Committee Anatoly Lappo.
The president noted that the opposition media are constantly plying up the Belarus-Russia exercises, counting how many troops from Russia will arrive in Belarus. Moreover, they call the exercises ‘the occupation plan'. In particular, such a wording was used by Zenon Pozniak. According to him, hundreds of wagons of military hardware from Russia will arrive in Belarus in addition to 100,000 soldiers.
“I rarely mention names, but I have cited Zenon Pozniak not because he is some kind of a model for us. On the contrary, he is the antithesis of our policy. But I know him very well, and he knows me. The man is smart, he understands everything. No one from the current self-exiled opposition is close to him in terms of understanding," the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the politician who left Belarus attempts to speculate on the topic of exercises with Russia and interpret the facts in his own way: "Listen, the numbers do not fit. It's easy to calculate, even if you don't know what an army is."
"But that's not the point. I would like to ask, Mr Pozniak, where he, a fighter for sovereignty and independence, was in 2020 when the country was about to lose independence and was about to be occupied? Why, then, he didn't he defend sovereignty and independence? Where were you, Mr Pozniak? Most importantly, I would like to address the Belarusians who heed their words and are now concerned about this (this is part of our society, part of the state where I am the president), and Mr Pozniak: We will never allow the occupation of Belarus, at least as long as I am the president and as long as you are my generals. This is not going to happen, neither from the right nor from the left, neither from the west nor from the east, neither from the north nor from the south. Never. We will never let it happen. There is no need to speculate on this ‘topic',” the Belarusian leader stressed.
According to the president, Belarus and Russia announced plans to hold the joint exercises long time ago. These are regular exercises for the armies of the two countries. The Zapad exercise was held in 2021. This year's exercise will span the southern border of Belarus. “It is important for us because we will have to deploy the Belarusian army contingent there. We discussed this during the recent visit to Luninets. This is no occupation at all. We just want to protect our southern border. This kind of politicians should first of all pay attention to the military build-up not only on the borders of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, but also of Ukraine. It was not us who started paying attention to our southern border in the first place. The Ukrainians began pulling troops there. I do not understand why they had to do this,” the head of state said.