The self-proclaimed president of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has said that the only way to prevent Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine was to "solve this issue" in 2014–15, "before Ukraine had an army or was prepared".
Source: Belta, a Belarusian state news agency, citing Lukashenko’s speech during the meeting of the Council of Heads of Security and Special Services of the Commonwealth of Independent States
Details: Lukashenko said that he "absolutely agree[d]" with Russian President Vladimir Putin that they "did not start" the war in Ukraine, and that the war "started way before 2014".
"We saw everything going on there: the ‘brown’ coup that happened, and what Ukraine is being made to do. We saw who was at the forefront," Lukashenko said, blaming the Ukrainian government for failing to ensure a peaceful coexistence of its citizens.
The Belarusian dictator said that if the full-scale invasion had not started over a year ago, it would start tomorrow, but Russia and Belarus would be worse-off.
"Everything was heading that direction. Perhaps our only mistake is not having solved this issue in 2014-15, before Ukraine had an army or was prepared…Everyone wanted a peaceful settlement. But in the meantime, [Ukraine] has been creating a capable armed force," he noted.
This is not the first time Lukashenko voices explicitly anti-Ukrainian sentiments. In July 2022, he claimed that he had de-facto recognised the illegal and self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and the Russian annexation of Crimea; he added that he could issue a relevant order if needed. In autumn 2022, a cooperation agreement between Minsk and the Russian-occupied city of Sevastopol in Crimea was signed into action.
On 18 April 2023, Lukashenko held a meeting with Denis Pushilin, the Kremlin-appointed puppet leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. Following the meeting, Ukraine recalled its ambassador in Belarus for consultations.