“We are going to have to defend the border, we know how to do it and we will do it”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. / REUTERS

The Belarusian president revalidates himself as the most ardent defender of Russia’s strategy and assures that, together, “we are invincible”

M. P.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has become the desert storm in Eastern Europe. “We are going to have to defend our borders. We know how to do it and we will do it, I assure you,” he said this Monday in new public statements to the citizens of his country, where he once again closed ranks with the Russian strategy in the Ukrainian conflict. The leader has multiplied his interventions as the tone of the conflict has worsened, to the point that some North American and European analysts consider him the one in charge of translating into an aggressive verb the speech that Russian senior officials wield under layers of diplomacy and correction. .

In this last appearance, Lukashenko underestimated the possible sanctions that the West will prepare against his government in the event that Moscow orders an incursion into Ukraine. The president accepted the warnings from the US Department of State about the consequences of being an “accomplice” of Russia and denounced his “paternalistic threats.” “They will impose sanctions if we let Putin and Russia do this or that. If we decide to harbor nuclear weapons they will do something else. They have a paternalistic tone towards us”, he criticized, while “they press for a war”.

The Belarusian leader also included in the same bag the European Union – which held a meeting on Monday to define a catalog of sanctions against Moscow – and the international community. “They should look in the mirror first. It is not us who want this situation to escalate. We will only answer,” he said, along the same lines as the argument used by the Russian government in the last week of negotiations with the United States, NATO and Europe.

Lukashenko has emerged as the voice of the East that imprints a catastrophically bellicose and challenging character on the Ukrainian crisis. The man who in August 2020 responded to a massive march by his opponents by arriving at the presidential palace armed with a kalashnikov and dressed in a bulletproof vest or who recommended drinking vodka and playing hockey to combat Covid-19 moves especially comfortably in confrontation scenarios.

“Don’t mess with us”

Sometimes it gives you revenue. In 2015 he won the elections again – he has been in power since the mid-1990s – driven largely by his statesmanship in the midst of the previous crisis between Russia and Ukraine. And now, ostracized by the international community for his authoritarian policies and highly contested at home, this former Soviet community farm manager may very well see in his closer ties with Russia and the Eastern bloc, the state of la Unión, a new lifesaver board.

On Sunday, in another episode of verbal incontinence, he already put the West on notice by assuring that Russia and Belarus, together, are “invincible” and that the “many” attempts to “defeat us” throughout history “have failed”. Facing the territory comprised by NATO and Western Europe, Lukashenko gave the domains from Brest to Vladivostok as an example of power. “Don’t mess with us” or “the other side will be sorry for a long time,” he threatened.

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