On August 28, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened neighbouring Poland and Lithuania to limit their transit through Belarus. He also admitted that Minsk contributed to smuggling sanctioned goods to Russia.
“We are going to show them what sanctions are. They (Poles and Lithuanians) transited our territory to trade with China and Russia. Now they will fly either through the Baltic Sea or the Black Sea to trade with Russia and so on. In terms of the embargoed products (food products embargoed by Russia) I suggest they forget about them. We will show them what sanctions are,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.
According to him, there have been attempts to intimidate Belarus with the help of ‘tanks and missiles’. He believes that the West might use Belarus as a starting venue for an attack on Russia and needs it only as ‘a market to sell their products’.
“They need to remove this government and install another one which will appeal to a foreign state to send in troops and provide support,” he said.
Speaking about external military threats, Lukashenka said that 18 American F-16 Fighting Falcons were redeployed from Berlin to the place which is ‘some 15-20 minutes of flying time to Belarus’ borders’ and suggested they might have carried nuclear weapons. He also expressed his readiness to ‘respond’.
A day earlier, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Russia had formed a reserve force of law enforcement officers ‘to help Belarus if necessary’ at the request of his counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka.