Updated at 21:48,17-09-2020

Lukashenka: Belarus determined to defend national interests

Andrey SEREDA, BelaPAN

Alyaksandr Lukashenka expressed his determination to «defend national interests» while discussing Belarus’ military doctrine with top security officials on Friday.

«We can publicly confirm with good reason our peaceful policy and the lack of hostility toward other states but at the same time declare our determination to defend our national interests,» the government’s news agency BelTA quoted him as saying. «We don’t need what belongs to others but we will not give away a single meter of our land.»

Mr. Lukashenka said that the country’s current military doctrine had been approved some 15 years ago and the situation in the world and around Belarus had changed dramatically since. He routinely referred to «color revolutions» as a way to «overthrow legitimate governments» and said that they had caused an increase in armed conflicts. «And increasingly often, political goals are achieved through a state being undermined from within,» he was quoted as saying.

Mr. Lukashenka said that Iraq, Libya and Yemen had been «plunged into chaos» and also noted ongoing violence in Syria and Ukraine. He expressed concern about increasing terrorist attacks and the rising number of refugees heading to Europe.

«Contradictions between the Russian Federation and the NATO member states have intensified to say the least. And we have found ourselves wedged between them, like between the hammer and the anvil,» he said.

Mr. Lukashenka insisted that the Belarusian public’s complaints about poor living standards were dwarfed by security challenges. «With time these complaints will be gone, they will be simply forgotten or the people will forgive the government like it always happens,» he said. «But they will not forgive one thing — our failure to provide security and defend the country’s sovereignty and independence. In that case clothes, meat or milk will not be needed, nothing will be needed if there is no piece of land where our children and grandchildren would live. So if we are down to our last rubel in the state coffers it should be spent on our people’s security, on the people’s secure life. This is what matters most.»

Mr. Lukashenka cited what he described as the plight of the war-torn Ukrainian people. «From the point of view of our people they don’t have a proper life at all,» he said. «No one there speaks about prices, meat, currency, exchange rates any more. Everyone there dreams about them being left alone and the country getting back to normal, about peace. As Ukrainians say, they will find everything else themselves, through their own work.»