MINSK, 7 February (BelTA) – The self-exiled opposition calling for sanctions against Belarus abroad are bandits waging a war against the state, Belarusian President Aleksandr said in an interview with the VGTRK journalist, radio and TV host Vladimir Soloviev, BelTA has learned.
“These are bandits who are fighting against the state,” the president said.
The journalist asked if they could return to Belarus. “I have recently said… [in his annual Address to Belarusian People and the National Assembly Aleksandr Lukashenko told the self-exiled opposition to return home, get on their knees and ask for forgiveness]. Maybe, I put it rather figuratively, Soloviev-style. Will I go there to get them? I will not. Some got me wrong thinking that I want to pardon them here, even criminals, nothing like that. I said that a public commission will be created comprising experts and those they wanted to kill, journalists. It is true. It is up to them to decide what to do. If they choose to come here and go to jail, they will go to jail,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“And then, you missed my phrase about a face-saving practice where I suggested dumping them at the border for us to pick them up. This is what Poland and Lithuania are doing now with refugees. They beat them half to death and dump them, sometimes already dead, on the border line, we take them away. It was a kind of joke, but if you want to save face, you can do it,” the Belarusian leader added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the athletes, including the retired ones, who made a stand against him and left the country: “When they were offered this candy wrapper in the West, they saw candy there, apparently. Now they have no money, nothing.”
The head of state emphasized that throughout the years of his presidency he had made every effort to promote sports and professional growth of athletes. “I know every athlete. I personally know very well that girl, the swimmer, she was not a bad athlete, she did well, very well. I helped her a lot. I helped every sport, every athlete who rose to prominence,” he said.