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27 Oct, 2023 22:09

Lukashenko names Ukraine’s biggest problem

Kiev needs to sue for peace before it is too late, the leader of Belarus has said
Lukashenko names Ukraine’s biggest problem

The “wise men” in Kiev should call for a truce and negotiate before they lose everything, because Ukraine is running out of fighting men, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.

“The most dangerous thing for Ukraine is that it will have weapons, but no one to use them,” Lukashenko told reporters in Minsk, when asked about the conflict on his southern border. “We’ve seen what has happened there. At the start, these, you know, ideological people – these nationalists – they fought. Where are they? Practically all of them have died or been crippled.”

The authorities are now rounding up men on the street and sending them to the front without any training, the Belarusian president added. These conscripts end up stuck between the fortified Russian lines and the Ukrainian “barrier troops” preventing them from retreating.

“People are fleeing from Ukraine, no one wants to fight,” Lukashenko added.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky purged all mobilization departments in August, after Kiev’s security service SBU said it had discovered a network selling fake medical exemptions in a dozen regions in the country. Official Ukrainian sources said almost 20,000 men have been detained in attempting to leave the country rather than get drafted into the army.

The grand Ukrainian offensive launched in June failed to breach any Russian defenses in Zaporozhye while losing an estimated 90,000 men and thousands of pieces of equipment provided by the West. Russian forces are now counterattacking across the entire front.

Kiev has also voiced concerns that it might run out of ammunition in 2024, with Ukrainian officials noting that even the entire Western military-industrial complex can’t cope with their requirements.

American help won’t last forever, so if they’re smart, the Ukrainians would sit down and negotiate with the Russians, Lukashenko told the reporters.

“Negotiate. About what? About land and peace,” the Belarusian president said. Any territorial issues – such as Donbass or Crimea – can be brought up at the negotiating table “so people don’t keep dying,” he added.

This is not the first time Lukashenko has warned Ukraine about the perils of intransigence. In a lengthy interview with Ukrainian journalist Diana Panchenko in August, he warned Kiev that if they keep insisting on fighting for Donbass, Zaporozhye, Kherson, and Crimea, they may well lose Odessa, Nikolaev, Kharkov, and who knows what else.

Ukraine may “cease to exist” if the conflict goes on for much longer, Lukashenko said at the time, urging Kiev “to end the war.”