MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) - If Belarus had not held ground in 2020, the country would have been worse off now than Ukraine, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss the social and political situation and the crime rate in the country, BelTA has learned.
"Some are lying in wait. Some are very vocal about their positions. We respond harshly. The events of 2020 will not be repeated. It is bad that the situation around the country is such, especially with regard to dear Ukraine. But that's a lesson for all ten million Belarusians and people who visit us. Everyone has already understood: if we had not survived the 2020 events, the country would have been worse off than Ukraine. Ukraine is a rich country, richer than Belarus. Things would have been worse here. I don't want people to thank us endlessly but everyone understands why and thanks to whom the country survived. Given everything that has happened, there are still some people who persist with this nasty business of fighting against the people and against the government... But some are wary of acting openly. What response do they expect from us?" the president asked rhetorically.
"Of course, we react harshly to this. We will never allow the events of 2020 to happen again. The pandemic and other issues, pre-election and election issues played their role but this is not an excuse. We need to rally together now in order to survive, and to avoid war," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state noted that the West has not abandoned its plans for Belarus; Ukraine continues to train militants and extremists. "I don't know why Ukraine needs this. On the one hand, they ask us not to send troops to Ukraine. They suggest a non-aggression pact. On the other hand, they are preparing this explosive mixture and arming them. Poland and Lithuania have taken leave of their wits whatsoever. Why are they acting like that? I don't get it. Therefore, we are forced to react harshly. We have enough problems along the perimeter - both in the airspace and on the ground, the green border. We have enough problems there. Let's hope we cope with all of them. We do not need internal problems. Therefore, the reaction to this internal opposition, which are more like extremists, like cockroaches crawling out of the woodwork, will be tough. They should consider themselves warned," the Belarusian leader stressed.