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6 Oct, 2023 17:40

Belarus is a ‘good neighbor’ to Poland – Lukashenko

The Belarusian leader has said his government does not seek to “aggravate” relations with Warsaw
Belarus is a ‘good neighbor’ to Poland – Lukashenko

Belarus has always been a “good neighbor” to Poland and has never sought to strain ties with the EU country, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday. He made the remarks as he spoke to reporters during a visit to the south-western region of Brest, bordering both Poland and Ukraine, where the president inspected military facilities.

“We don’t want the Poles to consider us strangers, enemies. We never set out to fight with the Poles or even to aggravate relations with them. We don’t need this,” Lukashenko stated. “I want the Poles not to think that enemies live here. We have been good neighbors to them and will continue to be,” he added.

Belarus has a significant number of ethnic Poles living in the country, the president noted. The Polish community has always been an integral part of the country’s life and has never been discriminated against by any means, Lukashenko stressed.

“These are my Poles. I’ve always emphasized: these are Poles, but these are my Poles. And they don’t want to go to Poland. They live here and will continue to live here,” the president stated.

Over the past few years, ties between Minsk and Warsaw have gradually deteriorated, particularly after the 2020 Belarusian presidential election. The result was contested by the opposition, which alleged massive election fraud on Lukashenko’s part. Mass protests took place in the country, openly backed by the EU, with Poland among the most vocal supporters.

In recent months, relations deteriorated even further over the redeployment of the Russian Wagner Group private military company to Belarus following its botched insurrection in late June. Warsaw has repeatedly alleged the company has been active on the Polish-Belarus border.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki even claimed the alleged activities of the PMC were “undoubtedly a step towards an upcoming hybrid attack on Polish territory.” Minsk has repeatedly dismissed such allegations, with Lukashenko saying Warsaw had “gone mad” over the Wagner rumors.