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26 May, 2021 16:08

Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko

Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko

Countries unfriendly to Belarus have moved on from organizing riots and are now onto the stage of “strangulation,” a tactic they will later use in Russia. That’s according to the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko.

Speaking to politicians, Lukashenko explained his view that protests have been deemed to have failed in Belarus, so foreign backers of the opposition are changing tack.

“That's why they've gone from organizing riots to the strangulation stage,” he said. “They are searching for new vulnerabilities, and it is not only aimed at us: we are a testing ground, a place for to experiment before they rush to East [Russia].”

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Ill-wishers from both outside and inside the country have changed their methods of attack on the state, Lukashenko said, explaining that they have “crossed many red lines” and “crossed the line of common sense and human morality."

Last August, Belarus burst into waves of demonstrations and mass unrest following the Presidential Election. According to official results, Lukashenko earned 80% of the vote and won a sixth term in power. However, the country's opposition believes the election to be falsified, with some saying opposition figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the true victor. In the months following the vote, her supporters took to the streets across the country to protest.

According to the president, Belarusian authorities took tough measures during the demonstrations, and as a result they were able to "nip the wave of neo-Nazism in the bud."

"Our actions may have seemed excessive to those who justify their atrocities. But this strategy is vital for the country," he said.

In recent days, new measures have been taken against Minsk, following Sunday's emergency grounding of a Ryanair plane from Greece, due to a supposed bomb threat. Once it landed at Minsk airport, police came onto the aircraft and arrested activist Roman Protasevich, a passenger on the flight. Later, when no bomb was found, the plane left Belarus to its final destination of Lithuania.

In response to what many called "piracy," many European countries have stopped accepting Belarusian planes into their airspace.

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