29 June, 02:28 PM

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

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko and his regime bear the blame for allowing Russia to launch attacks on Ukraine from Belarusian soil, not the Belarusian people, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya has said.

She was speaking in response to a recent address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Belarusians. Zelensky addressed the people of Belarus on June 26, saying they were being drawn into Russia's war against Ukraine even more actively than in February, and that the Kremlin wants to sow hatred between the Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples.

Tsikhanouskaya said the peoples of Ukraine and Belarus were dependent on each other for their freedom and security.

“Without a free Ukraine there will be no free Belarus, and without a free Belarus there can be no security in Ukraine and the region,” Tsikhanouskaya said. 

“The national interests of the people of both Ukraine and Belarus now coincide, and the Belarusians are doing everything possible to protect the independence and sovereignty of the two countries,” she said.

"... Both of our peoples want to return to peaceful life, get rid of the Russian occupation and finally defeat dictatorship as a phenomenon. Our peoples support each other, and the task of politicians is to help them in this. Not to separate us, when this only helps the enemy. Belarusians will do everything possible to help Ukraine. We do not need anything in return, except respect for our path. Respect for our experience and our right to be ourselves – Belarusians." 

The opposition leader added that Belarusians provide housing for people who have been forced to move from Ukraine to Lithuania and Poland. Belarusian volunteers are helping defend Ukraine from a full-scale Russian invasion, Belarusians volunteer in Ukraine to fight Russian invasion forces, and Belarusian partisans are blocking railway tracks to prevent Russian military equipment from entering Ukraine.

Tikhanovskaya also said that the regime of Belarusian dictator Lukashenko is torturing thousands of people in prisons, shooting partisans on sight and threatening the death penalty for those even intending to organize resistance.

"... All those guilty of military aggression, of using Belarusian land as a testing ground for Russian equipment, of violence against Belarusians and Ukrainians will be held accountable. And it will be Lukashenko and his assistants, and not the entire people of Belarus," Tsikhanouskaya said.

At the end of her speech, the opposition leader noted that Ukrainians and Belarusians “understand each other like never before, so the next time you (Volodymyr Zelensky) address Belarusians, you don’t have to switch from Ukrainian to Russian.”

Ukrainian intelligence believes that the massive Russian missile strikes from the territory of Belarus are a provocation of the Russian Federation to further draw the country into the war against Ukraine. According to the Main Intelligence Directorate, Russia is strengthening its military presence in Belarus, especially military aviation.

The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, said on June 22 that there was no threat of attack from Belarus at this stage. Zelensky said that the risks of a new invasion from Belarus were minimal, but Ukraine is preparing for all possible scenarios.

At the end of May, the Belarusian Defense Ministry announced that Lukashenko had ordered the creation of a "people's militia." On June 7, training in "combat readiness" began in the Belarusian army. Lukashenko's regime has also begun training on "the transition from peacetime to wartime," according to Ukrainian intelligence. On June 22, Belarus announced the start of "mobilization exercises" near the border with Ukraine.

At the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, invading Russian troops and tanks moved into the north of Ukraine from the territory of Belarus. The territory of Belarus also has installations that are used to launch missiles at the cities of Ukraine. For its full-scale war against Ukraine, Russia uses the airfields and airspace of Belarus, their infrastructure, hospitals as well as their transports to deliver weapons and equipment through Belarusian territory.

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