Lukashenko: Belarusian troops not partaking in Russian operation
Though conducting recent military drills with Russia, Belarusian troops do not have involvement in the recent Russian special military operation in Donbass.
On Thursday, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarusian troops are not taking any part in the special military operation conducted by Russian troops in Ukraine.
According to Lukashenko, Ukraine's military leadership has been warned of a possible operation by Moscow but did not take any steps to prevent it, as reported by Belta, a Belarusian media outlet.
He revealed that a Ukrainian military representative had contacted the Belarusian government last night, where in the conversation, Lukashenko suggested that Ukraine call the Russian authorities to tell them to "avoid bloodshed."
"Did he contact Moscow? He didn't," Lukashenko said, suggesting that Ukraine actually wanted this conflict, and did nothing to prevent it.
"They were constantly pumping up and pumping up [the situation]. Even after the recognition of the independence of these republics [in Donbass]," Lukashenko said.
Furthermore, he stressed that it's important that the two sides avoid a full-scale war, and suggested that they hold negotiations in Minsk, believing that the talks can stop the conflict.
"We are Slavs, three Slavic peoples. Let's sit down and decide our fate for the future, forever. What is the basis of this? If I were Zelensky, I would cling to this. Putin said - and well done, I praised him for this in a conversation, - 'We are not occupants, we are not going to occupy Ukraine.' What else is needed? This is a basis for talks. He really is not going to occupy," Lukashenko said.
Kiev, according to Lukashenko, is losing - so it will need to make concessions to meet Russia's demands. To meet at the negotiating table, a number of premises need to be fulfilled: First would be the demilitarization of Ukraine, their refusal to join NATO, and the cessation of aggressions in Donbass.
Lukashenko went on to explain that any Russian concession would be better than being defeated in the war: "Yes, they [the requirements] will be stricter in relation to Ukraine. But what about today if you lose? Of course, the winner will dictate something to you. But let's be realistic: of course, they will dictate something, but it will be much better than if Ukraine is defeated in the war," Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian president hailed China's stance on the Ukraine crisis, which urged all sides to seek "reasonable solutions."
He said, "The Chinese - wise people - say:, 'Now the door is not slammed yet. This conflict can be prevented at the moment.'"
Ongoing, joint military drills
Earlier this month, Belarus and Russia conducted joint military drills in case of an escalation.
"On February 10, the 'Allied Resolve-2022' joint drills started on the combined arms ranges of the Republic of Belarus as part of the second stage of checking the reaction forces of the Union State," said the Russian Defense Ministry.
As part of the drills, the "combat crews of the Russian Eastern Military District’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system went on combat duty to ensure air defense," they added.
According to the Ministry, the drills are aimed at training actions on preventing and combating external aggression, counteracting terrorism, and protecting the interests of the Union State.
Read more: Belarus says Russian forces to remain for more drills