MINSK, 24 December (BelTA) – Belarus' sovereignty can be threatened only by economic hardships. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement in an interview with Editor-in-Chief of the radio station Ekho Moskvy [Echo of Moscow] Aleksei Venediktov on 24 December, BelTA has learned.
The head of state was asked for a comment about recent street rallies staged in Minsk in defense of the country's sovereignty and independence. “Certainly, I understand them. But don't tell me those were massive. Because the protesters went to Pobeditelei Avenue and Nezavisimosti Avenue where lots of people walk. 400 people – the core of our opposition – were waving flags. What you saw in mass media may look like a huge number of people. But those were people walking home, to office, to shops…” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
Yet Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that in addition to understanding the point of view of the protesters he does not reject it. “We should keep it in mind. But the problem is they are doing it for some political gains. Someone dropped some hints. Someone paid money. They get considerable finance. They live quite well, I've said it before. They are not doing it to protect sovereignty. Because they understand perfectly well that I will never accept the things they are trying to protect the Belarusian nation from. I don't think it may seem strange to you if I say that the president of Belarus is the key defender of sovereignty and independence. Because he is responsible for it according to the Constitution,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Asked whether Belarus' sovereignty is threatened right now, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the country is in focus of many events and parties working at cross-purposes. “All interests interlace here these days. From the west to the east (and not only Russian ones), from the south to the north. This is the situation we have. And while we are in this cauldron, we have to act carefully and precisely to avoid getting boiled. It is the problem I have to deal with. And you criticize me for turning either to the west or the east. Let me tell you that I turn to neither. Here is the land god has given us,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
At the same time Aleksandr Lukashenko said he does not feel some growing threat to Belarus' sovereignty. He explained that no one wants to threaten Belarus' sovereignty because interests of global players will be affected. “Is it a threat from the side of Russia as some say? Does Russia need another headache in this situation? It doesn't. Certainly, Russia will act gently and carefully,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. “If Russia tries to violate our sovereignty, you know how not only the international community will react. It will get involved in a war. The West and NATO will not tolerate it because they will deem it as a threat. They will be right to some extent in this regard.”
On the other hand, if the West wants to capture or subdue Belarus, it will be deemed as a threat to Russia's sovereignty. “There is a difference between small-range and medium-range rockets deployed near Smolensk and the same rockets deployed far away in Poland,” the head of state noted.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that only economic hardships may pose a genuine threat to his country's sovereignty. “When the state of economy gets terrible, when people cannot live with it,” he said.