SHARKOVSHCHINA, 22 February (BelTA) – Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko met with activists of Sharkovshchina District on 21 February, BelTA has learned.
The head of the Belarus President Administration noted that the situation around Belarus is tense. According to experts, a 100,000-strong NATO grouping is deployed in European countries. A fifth of the group is stationed in Poland, and the country is set to build up its military forces up to 300,000, as well as to increase the amount of weapons and aviation. “Measures are being taken in Belarus to improve training of our troops. For this purpose, a regional military task force of the Union State has been deployed, it also trains the Armed Forces at some of our training grounds,” said Igor Sergeyenko. He noted that it is important that Belarus prevent hostilities from spilling over to its territory.
Speaking about Ukraine, Igor Sergeyenko stressed that the Belarusians would not fight in the neighboring state. The Belarusian military thwart provocation attempts from the Ukrainian side, including by intercepting unmanned aerial vehicles. An active information warfare is being waged in Ukraine, including against Belarusian border guards; fake information is circulating about the alleged launch of missiles and shells from the territory of Belarus. However, each such report is checked and is proved false.
Unfriendly actions have recently been taken by Lithuania and Latvia. Citizens of these countries who are going to visit Belarus, including under the visa waiver, are intimidated by their own migration services and are told that they might be arrested by Belarusian special services. Meanwhile, the visa-free travel opportunity for the Latvians, Lithuanians and Poles has been extended this year, and last year about 350,000 citizens of the neighboring Baltic countries and Poland took advantage of the visa waiver. In turn, these states impose travel restrictions and close international border checkpoints, which creates obstacles for ordinary people. Belarus is trying to resolve these issues through diplomacy.
Igor Sergeyenko also touched upon attempts by foreign states and their special services to overthrow the government in Belarus. With regard to the self-exiled opposition, he drew a parallel with 1944, when Belarusians who collaborated with the Nazis - policemen, defectors, traitors who killed their compatriots - fled to safety to the West. “History is repeating with an interval of almost 80 years, and these traitors also fled abroad. Attempts to destabilize our country can be resumed during the 2024 elections. Their forms will be diverse, and their intensity will depend on the region. We will counteract such actions together,” said Igor Sergeyenko.
Regional media can also contribute to challenging the information warfare by communicating the truth to the population. The forms and methods of this information warfare will be changing, and Belarusian media should be a step ahead of the opposition Telegram channels.
Igor Sergeyenko also highlighted Belarus' economic successes, including record-high growth in the agricultural sector in 2022. In connection with the sanctions, market diversification is becoming a centerpiece of economic efforts of the central government and local authorities. The head of the Belarus President Administration noted that export flows were redirected to the east. Russian ports are actively used. Before the imposition of the sanctions by sea, Belarusian goods went through 4-5 ports, and now about 20 are involved.
Social security matters remain a priority in Belarus notwithstanding external shocks. In 2022, 29 new healthcare facilities were opened or reopened after an upgrade in the country. In this regard Igor Sergeyenko touched upon the personnel issues at the Sharkovshchina hospital. In 2022, only three young specialists joined the healthcare institution, and this was not enough to eliminate the shortage of personnel.
Speaking about education, Igor Sergeyenko noted that it is necessary to explain to people the essence and the reasons for the ongoing optimization. The head of the Belarus President Administration also discussed the development of Sharkovshchina District and the town of Sharkovshchina, as well as problems that concern local people and local authorities.