Alyaksandr Lukashenka made a surprisingly combative speech during his Christmas Day visit to a church in Minsk, warning unnamed forces against trying to “humiliate” Belarus.
“You should understand the main formula of our actions: we will not let anyone humiliate our people and state,” the presidential press office quoted him as saying at the Holy Spirit Cathedral on Saturday. “If someone doesn’t understand that, then it will be difficult for us not just to build relations with them but even speak to them.”
“We cannot give away this land and this state to anyone. We received it in a difficult historical reality, frankly speaking through struggle and wars. We lost a huge number of people while defending our land.”
“The main task for us is to secure stability,” said Mr. Lukashenka. “We will find everything else. What matters most is peace and calm. As soon as we rock our Belarus we will be in serious trouble. We should not look at far-away places like the Middle East, Africa or Asia to see examples, there is a vivid example at our door.”
Mr. Lukashenka promised that Belarus would never “create difficulties” for other countries. “There are already more than enough problems in the world,” he said. “We will always be stable, responsible, honest, fair.”
“We have a sovereign, independent state, no matter whether someone likes it or not, a state that has roots that go back far into the past. And we are perfectly aware of that. And this state needs to be honored and respected. We should be treated in the same way that we treat our neighbors, all states in the world.”
Mr. Lukashenka spoke to Metropolitan Pavel, the Russian Orthodox patriarchal exarch to Belarus, and reportedly lit a Christmas candle at the Minsk Icon of the Mother of God.