Updated at 15:09,08-07-2020

Lukašenka: We just can’t cancel it

Belapan

Lukašenka: We just can’t cancel it
By Andrej Sierada, BelaPAN
Minsk, 3 May. Belarus should not cancel the May 9 Victory Day military parade, Aliaksandr Lukašenka said Sunday, speaking at a government meeting at the Palace of Independence in Minsk.

“We can’t cancel the parade, we just can’t cancel it,” the Belarusian leader said.

“I thought about this for a long time,” he said. “This is certainly an emotional and deeply ideological thing. This is very important. It’s necessary to remember that those people might have died from viruses and other diseases, but sometimes they didn’t feel that and didn’t think about that. And they died for us, however pathetic this may sound. And we should think what people may say. Maybe not right away, but in a day or two. They will say that we give in to fear.”

“Nonetheless, I want to warn the organizers that no one should be forced to attend this event,” Mr. Lukašenka said. “If they don’t want, if they decide to take care of their health, we’ll understand that. There are enough of those who want to attend. Thousands and thousands of people want this event to take place.”

There are very few living World War II participants and it is necessary to take measures to protect them from infection, although they themselves want to attend the parade, Mr. Lukašenka said.

“It’s clear they are over 90 years old,” he said. “We’ll think what to do with them. I still hold the opinion that we should take care of old people. We all can see that all these infections primarily hit old people, although young people may fall ill as well. That’s why we shouldn’t pull people to this mass event. But I’m concerned that people may disapprove of us getting scared and fleeing to our holes.”

Mr. Lukašenka also said that some Russian lawmakers, including members of both the State Duma and the Federation Council, would like to attend the Victory Day parade in Minsk. “We welcome this,” he said. “They are welcome to come. … Our airport is open. I think we’ll manage to agree with the leadership of Russia on a flight for those wishing to visit our country. We don’t shut the door to our friends and brothers.”

“I’m in general sure that the parade is not the most dangerous event from the standpoint of epidemiology and virology, because it will be properly organized,” Mr. Lukašenka said, according to the presidential press office. “We’ll speak about this later, maybe from the platform during this parade.”