Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warned Ukraine and the West on Friday to not pressure his ally Russia right into a nook, saying Moscow had nuclear weapons for a purpose.
In extracts of an interview with the American TV channel NBC launched by Belarus’s state information company, Mr Lukashenko mentioned: “An important factor is, do not drive your interlocutor and even your opponent right into a nook. So you should not cross these traces – these pink traces, because the Russians say. You may’t cross them.”
Concern has mounted within the West that Russian President Vladimir Putin could resort to nuclear weapons since a sequence of defeats for his forces in Ukraine swung the momentum of the conflict in Kyiv’s favour.
“As for nuclear weapons, any weapon is a weapon created for one thing,” Mr Lukashenko was quoted as saying.
“Russia has clearly outlined its place: God forbid there shall be an assault on the territory of the Russian Federation; in that occasion, Russia can use all kinds of weapons if crucial.”
Mr Lukashenko has no say in President Putin’s army choices however his feedback served to underline the heightened state of East-West pressure because the conflict nears the top of its eighth month.
Vladimir Putin unilaterally proclaimed 4 Ukrainian areas as a part of Russia final month, a transfer overwhelmingly condemned this week by the U.N. Basic Meeting, and has mentioned he’ll defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” by all means, together with nuclear weapons if crucial.
Mr Lukashenko mentioned individually he had positioned Belarus in what he known as a state of heightened terrorism alert due to tensions on its borders. He linked that transfer to his announcement on Monday that he had ordered Belarusian troops to deploy with Russian forces close to Belarus’s southern border with Ukraine.
Allied with Moscow and wedged between Russia, Ukraine and three NATO international locations, Belarus allowed Russia to make use of its territory as one of many launchpads for its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Its newest troop actions have raised concern in Kyiv and the West that Lukashenko could also be about to commit his military to help Russia’s faltering conflict effort.
Political analysts say that’s an unappealing choice for him however that he will not be ready to refuse if Russian President Vladimir Putin calls for it.
Belarus is determined by Russia politically and economically, and President Putin’s help helped Mr Lukashenko survive mass pro-democracy protests in 2020. Mr Lukashenko crushed the demonstrations and all main opposition figures have been jailed or compelled to flee overseas.
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