You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Belarus will back Russia if war breaks out in Ukraine, says Alexander Lukashenko

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 29/11/2021 Nataliya Vasilyeva, Roland Oliphant
Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday he would stand by Vladimir Putin if Ukraine were to attack Russia - Andrei Stasevich/BelTA via AP © Andrei Stasevich/BelTA via AP Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday he would stand by Vladimir Putin if Ukraine were to attack Russia - Andrei Stasevich/BelTA via AP

Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian dictator, has said his country would stand side-by-side with Russia if war breaks out in Ukraine.

The comments came as Kyiv called on the West to prepare snap economic sanctions ready to be imposed if Moscow does invade, after a build-up of Russian troops near the border led to fears of an imminent attack.

Dressed in military fatigues to meet with the top brass of the Belarusian army, Mr Lukashenko accused Nato rather than Russia of inflaming tensions in the region. 

The West knew “perfectly well that if they unleash a war in eastern Ukraine or somewhere near the Russian border, Belarus will not stand by and do nothing,” he said. 

“It’s perfectly clear whose side Belarus will be on.”

Minsk also announced further joint military drills with Moscow “in the medium term”, without specifying when these would be held. 

The two countries held training exercises near Belarus’s border with Poland earlier this month, during a migrant crisis along the frontier that the West accuses Mr Lukashenko of orchestrating.

Migrants throng near the border between Poland and Belarus © Provided by The Telegraph Migrants throng near the border between Poland and Belarus

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, told reporters that Western governments should prepare a clear package of economic sanctions to be used immediately in the event of a Russian invasion.


Video: Concerns rise that Russia could invade Ukraine (TODAY)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

He asked for increased defence and security support for his country, as well as government-to-government warnings to Russia about the consequences of any attack.

Ukraine estimates that there are some Russian 115,000 troops amassed near its borders, including forces in Russian-occupied Crimea.

“If Russia decides to undertake a military operation, things will literally be happening in the blink of an eye,” Mr Kuleba said. “The time frame in which to act is the coming months."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president and an ally of Russia, on Monday offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv to ease tensions. 

He told media he hoped that “this region does not become dominated by war”.

Turkey “would like to have a share in the solution of this by developing these talks both with Ukraine and with Mr Putin”, he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, was quick to reject the idea of Turkish mediation, insisting that Kyiv should speak with Russia-backed separatists directly.

Ukraine regards the separatists in its east as puppets of Moscow, and is opposed to direct engagement.

Mr Putin, who often describes Mr Erdogan as a personal friend, has not commented.

Sign up to the Front Page newsletter for free: Your essential guide to the day's agenda from The Telegraph - direct to your inbox seven days a week.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Telegraph

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon