‘Enemies want to undermine us from within’. Lukashenka keeps feeding fears of war

On March 11, Alyaksandr Lukashenka reshuffled a number of top officials in defence, law enforcement, security agencies of Belarus.

During Thursday’s meeting with some of the newly appointed officers, Lukashenka broached his opinion about ‘modern wars’ which, according to him, start with the destabilisation of the situation inside a country.

“Nobody will send army units against us the way it was done in 1941. Because the situation has changed. It would be too obvious, it would start the Third World War if things happened that way. <…> They are going to undermine us from within. We’ve already seen some of that. They touched us a bit after the presidential election in August 2020, with one tooth. They’ve broken their tooth. Now they are going to use all the teeth to bite us from the inside,” state-news agency BelTA quotes him.

The politician reiterated that the Belarusian military would have to defend the country and fight ‘from from the inside’.

In early March, Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya suggested in an interview that Alyaksandr Lukashenka would stop at nothing in order to retain power. “If he needs it, he will get a million people shot,” she added.

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It should be noted that captain Raman Haurylau and warrant officer Arseny Halitsyn who serve in military unit Nr 89417 (special operations forces) in the town of Maryina Horka were involved in the murder of Henadz Shutau in the course of post-election protests in Brest on August, 11. However, the court recognised them as victims while the deceased Shutau and witness Alyaksandr Kardzyukou were found guilty.

In late February, Aleh Voinau, Head of the MoD International Military Cooperation Department and the minister’s aide, told the military attaches accredited at the Defence Ministry that the Belarusian side had to ‘reassess the military and political situation’ on the back of certain countries’ ‘politicised’ reaction to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus. Certain countries’ reaction to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus was ‘politicised’, which failed to contribute to building ‘friendly relations’, he said.

As reported earlier, Defence Minister Viktar Khrenin delivered a stern warning to those who were taking to the streets amid post-election protests in mid August: “If order and peace are disturbed, the army, not the police, will be dealing with you!”

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