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President
02 December 2021, 17:24

Lukashenko talks about armed standoff outside Palace of Independence in August 2020

The Palace of Independence is the seat of the president of the Republic of Belarus. An archive photo
The Palace of Independence is the seat of the president of the Republic of Belarus. An archive photo

MINSK, 2 December (BelTA) – When Aleksandr Lukashenko took an assault rifle and went out of the Palace of Independence on a day of mass riots in Minsk in 2020, he was sure he would not have to fire the weapon. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement in a recent interview with Dmitry Kiselyov, Director General of the Russian state news agency MIA Rossiya Segodnya, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I was sure I will not have to shoot. Because those, who came, were no revolutionaries. Those were cowards, who had been paid money and who had been walking around for several days or weeks. Yes, they were driven off, pushed, and so on. But only a bit. And they thought they could easily take another walk. Money had been distributed after all. Who were they? They were no revolutionaries. They were cowards.”

The head of state reminded that he had flown over the avenue in a helicopter before showing up carrying an assault rifle. “I turned back and flew along the avenue. Specifically at a low altitude so that they could see it,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko explained that by doing so he tried to show everyone that he had not run away anywhere. His youngest son Nikolai was with him. “He didn't come out for the reason I did. He came out to protect his father,” the head of state specified.

The interview in progress
The interview in progress

“I knew that those were dishonorable cowards and sellouts. And when they said I had run away, I promptly came outside, boarded the helicopter, and flew right above the avenue,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

As a result participants of mass riots saw the helicopter and ran away. “I landed and went right there with an assault rifle. Everyone was armed, the security service – two people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “It was my iron stance. I certainly wanted to scare them a bit but I understood that all of them would run away. And they did.”

“But if they had tried to storm the Palace of Independence (I was constantly there, the president's control center was there, I had well-trained special operations forces inside), if they had rushed here (and we knew that they had not only melee weapons, we didn't rule it out), we would have defended the Palace of Independence under all laws, including using lethal weapons. The situation was very serious back then,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko explains his appearance with assault rifle in front of Palace of IndependenceLukashenko explains his appearance with assault rifle in front of Palace of Independence
Prior to those events various messages started appearing in the Internet and Telegram channels. The messages claimed that Aleksandr Lukashenko was in Rostov, that he had fled the country, that he was a coward, and so on. “What would you have done in my place?” he asked the interviewers.

He added that when he was going out of the palace, he was confident he would not have to fire his weapon. But if some attempt at violence against him had been taken, then he would have responded, the president assured. “I came out with a kid. If some attempt at violence had been committed against me, do you think I would look calmly at it? Well, it's one thing if I had been shot right away. But I wasn't alone. My soldiers could have wiped away these scoundrels. Because it was no joke back then.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also noted that there were a lot of school students and kids in the front ranks of the protesters, who had not voted at all and did not understand what was going on. “That was the entire problem. How could we fight against those kids, who had been paid a bit to buy a chewing gum?” the Belarusian leader noted.

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