Lukashenko says he decided Belarus should take part in attack on Ukraine ‘long ago’

Lukashenko has said he decided that Belarus should participate in Russia’s war

The self-proclaimed president of Belarus was speaking at a ceremony marking Belarusian independence day, Belarusian state news agency BELTA reported on July 3.

“We’re the only country that supports the Russians in this fight.” Lukashenko said.

“Those who reproach us, didn't you know that we have the closest alliance with the Russian Federation? With them we are building a single, powerful, independent state – the Union State. With two independent peoples bound in the union. Didn’t they know that we have created a single group of armed forces in the union of Belarus and Russia for a long time? Almost a unified army. You knew all this, so why are you reproaching us today? We have been and will be together with fraternal Russia. Our participation in the ‘special operation’ (the Kremlin term for its full-scale invasion and war against Ukraine) was decided by me a long time ago.”

Lukashenko said that on the first day of Russia's attack on Ukraine, he said that Belarusians "won't let anyone shoot a Russian man in the back." He said the Belarusians "took up defenses from the Brest Fortress to the southern borders in order to defend the Russians from a backstab by NATO troops."

Lukashenko said he believes that NATO has increased the number of armed forces in Eastern Europe "by ten times ... to fight." And Belarus, according to him, "must stand ... and win."

Read also: Finland ready to fight Russia if attacked, says defense chief

There has been no such increase of NATO troop numbers in Europe.

The day before, Lukashenko accused Ukraine, without providing any evidence, of trying to strike at military facilities in Belarus.

He also stated that he had ordered his military to "aim at" the decision-making centers in the capitals of Minsk's opponents.

At the same time, Lukashenko said that Minsk “does not want to fight against Ukraine” and that “a bad peace is better than a good war.”

Read also: Zelensky tells Belarusians they are being drawn into Russia's war against Ukraine

Threat of invasion from Belarus: what is known

In recent days it has been reported by Ukrainian officials that Russia is preparing provocations to draw Belarus into its war against Ukraine.

In addition, according to intelligence, the Russian Federation is again strengthening its military presence in Belarus, including by deploying warplanes.

This has prompted the Ukrainian command to strengthen the border with Belarus and station part of the army in bordering oblasts.

Belarus has been conducting mass military exercises, which practice the “transition from peacetime to wartime” since the beginning of June. It was reported on July 1 that the exercises of the Belarusian armed forces at the country's training grounds had again been extended. They will continue until at least July 9, according to reports.

Read also: Belarus sends out conscription notices en masse

Lukashenko regularly threatens to directly intervene in Russia's war against Ukraine. Among other things, the dictator has stated that Belarus "will have to fight for the western regions of Ukraine." He also said that “what is happening in Ukraine is only the beginning” and allegedly “one of the elements of a major reshaping of the world.”

He has threatened Ukraine with an "instant" retaliatory strike in response to threats from Ukraine.

There is no evidence that Ukraine poses, or has posed, any military threat to Belarus.

Read also: Lukashenko regime responsible attacks against Ukraine, not Belarus people – Tsikhanouskaya

UK intelligence believes that Lukashenko is balancing between supporting the Russian war against Ukraine and the desire to avoid direct military involvement with the risk of Western sanctions, Ukrainian retribution, and possible discontent in the Belarusian armed forces.

Despite the fact that the Belarusian army is not directly participating in the war against Ukraine, the territory of Belarus was used as a springboard for the offensive of the Russian military and equipment into northern Ukraine at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Russia continues to launch missiles into Ukraine from the territory of Belarus, and Russian multiple rocket launching systems are placed on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. In addition, Russian planes launch missiles at Ukraine from Belarusian airspace. Russia also uses Belarusian airfields to station its military aircraft.