Belarus Leader Says Ukraine 'Operation' Has 'Dragged On'

We 'are doing everything now so that there isn’t a war,' Lukashenko says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2022 6:51 AM CDT
Belarus Leader Claims He Is Doing 'Everything' to End War
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during an interview with the AP at the Independence Palace in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, May 5, 2022.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Belarus’ authoritarian leader defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said he was doing “everything” to stop the war, in a sit-down interview with the AP on Thursday. President Alexander Lukashenko also said that he didn’t think Russia’s “operation” in Ukraine would "drag on this way." "But I am not immersed in this problem enough to say whether it goes according to plan, like the Russians say, or like I feel it. I want to stress one more time, I feel like this operation has dragged on," Lukashenko said. He also alleged that Ukraine was “provoking Russia” and insisted that Belarus stands for peace.

"We categorically do not accept any war. We have done and are doing everything now so that there isn’t a war. Thanks to yours truly, me that is, negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have begun," he said. "But why is Ukraine, on whose territory a war in effect is ongoing, military action, people are dying—why is Ukraine not interested in these negotiations?" Russia deployed forces to Belarusian territory under the pretext of military drills and then sent them rolling into Ukraine as part of the invasion that began on Feb. 24. Lukashenko publicly supported the operation, alleging at a meeting with Vladimir Putin in early March that Ukraine planned to attack Belarus and that Moscow’s offensive prevented that.

Earlier this week, Belarusian military announced snap drills that raised concerns in Ukraine. However, Lukashenko assured the AP on Thursday that the drills didn’t threaten anyone. "We do not threaten anyone and we are not going to threaten and will not do it," he said. "Moreover, we can’t threaten—we know who opposes us, so to unleash some kind of a conflict, some kind of war here in the West is absolutely not in the interests of the Belarusian state. So the West can sleep peacefully." (More Belarus stories.)

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