The war in Ukraine must stop to avoid the "nuclear" precipice (Belarusian president to AFP)

Main ally of Moscow, Alexander Lukashenko lent the territory of his country to the Russian army so that it could launch its offensive on Ukraine on February 24th.

The war in Ukraine must stop to avoid the "nuclear" precipice (Belarusian president to AFP)

Main ally of Moscow, Alexander Lukashenko lent the territory of his country to the Russian army so that it could launch its offensive on Ukraine on February 24th.

"Come on, let's stop. We must not go further. Further is the precipice. Further is nuclear war. It must not go that far", he said , during a meeting with AFP in the Palace of Independence in Minsk.

"We must stop, get along, stop this chaos, the operation and the war in Ukraine", added Mr Lukashenko, almost five months to the day after Vladimir Putin attacked his neighbor, accusing him of "genocide "against the Russian-speaking populations and to serve as a bridgehead for NATO against Russia.

Talks that had begun in the early days of the war broke down, with each side blaming each other. For the Belarusian president, it is the Europeans and the Americans who encourage kyiv to fight.

"It all depends on Ukraine, currently, the peculiarity of the moment is that the war can end in more preferable conditions for Ukraine," said Mr. Lukashenko.

- Occupied territories, lost territories -

It must agree to "never have on (its) territory (...) weapons threatening Russia", he noted.

According to him, the objective of "denazification" proclaimed by the Kremlin about its military objectives in Ukraine, "is philosophy".

"The most important thing is Russia's security."

And to the Belarusian president to recall that Vladimir Putin had warned that his army was not yet fully employed in Ukraine.

"The war that is going on there is not yet the one that Russia could wage," he said, referring to the "frightening" weapons available to Moscow.

According to Mr. Lukashenko, Ukraine must now also accept that the regions occupied by Russia in the East and the South are lost.

"It is no longer discussed, we could have discussed it in February, March", he judged.

He also blamed the West for the war, saying he had planned an attack on Russia.

"We have seen the causes of this war. The cause is that if Russia had not outstripped NATO, you (Westerners) would have organized and hit it," he said. "You are at the origin and you prolong this war," he accused.

According to the Belarusian leader, the conflict would have been avoided if Western countries had given Mr Putin "the security guarantees he was asking for" at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, namely the withdrawal of the Alliance from the 1997 borders - before the enlargement to the countries of Eastern Europe - and the end of the rapprochement with Ukraine which Russia perceives as a threat.

"Why didn't you give those guarantees? It means you wanted war," he said.

As for Belarus, Mr. Lukashenko explained that his army was there to prevent a "stab in the back" from Russia, and that it would not go to the battlefield.

"We are participating in the operation, yes. But how? We have locked western and southwestern Belarus so that we cannot hit Russia in the back," he said. "We don't kill anyone".

"We have the same weapons as Russia, they have enough soldiers to fight, we are not needed there. So why (the Belarusian army) would go to Ukraine to carry out military actions?" said Mr. Lukashenko.

- "Stupid" sanctions -

Similarly, he said he had no plans to recognize the separatist territories of Ukraine recognized by Moscow to justify its military intervention, nor the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“What would it bring?” asked the Belarusian leader.

Although economically very dependent on Russia, which provides it with credit and cheap energy, the present Belarusian defended himself from being a puppet of Russia.

"Do not think that I am a puppet that is manipulated from morning to night. Nothing like that," he said, insisting on his "fraternal" relationship with Mr. Putin.

"The credits, we would be ready to take them in France (...), but you spat on us, tried to wipe your feet on us, on me, on my country".

And Mr. Lukashenko to return the favor, denouncing the “stupid” sanctions imposed on Russia and pointing to the enormous European dependence on Russian hydrocarbons which threatens to degenerate into an economic recession if gas deliveries were to be cut.

"The situation with your stupid, savage and incomprehensible sanctions has shown how much you depend on Russian energy resources," insisted the Belarusian president.

"Russia (...) needs peace, calm to trade, it needs to sell gas and you need to buy it," he noted.

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