MINSK – President Alexandr Lukashenko denied that Belarus is building a military alliance with Russia to invade neighboring nations.
“Do not even think of writing that we are creating here with any Russia to move tanks against you. It will never happen,” Lukashenko said, addressing a Polish journalist, who asked not to publish unproven data.
The Belarusian president made this comment during an appearance before the press at a polling station in Minsk, after casting his vote in the parliamentary elections held today in Belarus.
Lukashenko recalled referring to the same issue during a meeting with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski.
“I said that we will never threaten [Ukraine] with force,” he said.
Relations with the West
In addition, the Belarusian leader described as “nonsense” the claim that the US is dragging Belarus towards the West.
“If in Russia someone worries that the Americans have already dragged us to the West, it is nonsense. With Lukashenko, no one will drag Belarus to the West,” he said.
The Belarusian president also added that the US “never requires anything” from him.
Lukashenko also pointed out that Belarus follows Russia’s trail as regards the development of relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), in which it is not integrated.
“We follow in the footsteps [of Russia],” he said, referring to the issue of cooperation with the West.
2020 presidential elections
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, left no doubt that he will seek re-election in the 2020 elections.
“I will run without fail in these [presidential] elections,” said the 65-year-old president.
At the same time, the Belarusian leader said he does not hold onto the position.
“Of course I would take a categorical rejection to heart, if I perceive it, but they will have to reject my candidacy at the polls,” he said in an appearance before reporters at a polling station in Minsk.
Lukashenko ruled out introducing changes to the constitution for the elections.
“It would be stupid of me to declare that we are going to change the Constitution for the presidential elections,” he said.
Regarding a road map to deepen integration with Russia, Lukashenko said he will not sign a single document that contradicts the basic principles of the current Constitution, independence and sovereignty of Belarus.
Among the things that are being negotiated with Russia, the president mentioned a reduction in the price of natural gas and said he expects “progress” in this matter in 2020.