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15 September 2023, 13:19

Lukashenko rebuffs Western criticism, concerned about Poland's military intentions

MINSK, 15 September (BelTA) – Western countries should look at their own faults first instead of blaming others. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he and President of Russia Vladimir Putin talked to reporters, BelTA has learned.

A reporter told Vladimir Putin that the West claims that his recent meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un contributes to tensions in the region. The West also claims that Russia asked North Korea to send volunteers to participate in Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian president demolished these claims and said they were total nonsense.

In turn, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Western states should first count how many mercenaries they have already sent to participate in the Ukrainian conflict instead of trying to criticize Russia for something. “Maybe they need to do it. And secondly, it is a dangerous statement on their part [on the part of the West]. Because they dream of deploying their regular army units there. Army units are deployed in Poland near the border and are ready to enter Ukraine. You've also said that. They should look into their own eyes for some log instead of blaming someone else,” the Belarusian leader remarked.

Vladimir Putin said: “I absolutely agree with you. Fully. By the way, we see foreign mercenaries, foreign instructors in the battlefield and in the units where troops are getting trained. I think someone was taken prisoner yesterday or the day before yesterday. We don't feel the need to invite someone from the outside to fight for us.”

He quoted fresh statistics and said that 300,000 Russian warriors had already signed military service contacts with the Russian army. “I was told this morning that 300,000 contracts have been signed by the people, who, I'd like to emphasize again, are ready to sacrifice their lives in the interests of their motherland and in defense of Russia's interests. Yes, we pay them some money. Certainly, the salaries are higher than the country's average. But can any amount of money protect a person from death or a heavy injury? Of course not. And our men, who sign the contracts, are primarily guided by the highest patriotic considerations. It deserves respect per se,” Vladimir Putin said.

In response to criticism that mentions provocations and the inflation of tensions, the creation of threats for someone, Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia does not create threats to anyone. “The greatest threats that are being created in the world today come from today's ruling elites. By the way, they say it themselves. Several years ago the former [U.S.] secretary of defense Gates said that the greatest threat to the USA originates from the territories where the Capitol and the White House are located. They admit it. And now they are looking for a threat somewhere else. This is why I'd like to emphasize that it is total nonsense. Korea is our neighbor. We have to build good neighborly relations with neighbors one way or another. Yes, there are certain peculiarities relating to the Korean peninsula. We discuss it. We discuss it openly. And we never violate anything. We don't intend to violate anything in this case either. But certainly we will look for opportunities to develop relations between Russia and North Korea,” the Russian president said.

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