Lukashenko warns of 3rd World War, as Belarus prepares to send troops

The president denied that Belarus was taking part in the fighting, adding that no missiles were being fired from Belarusian territory • "Nuclear war is the end of everything"

 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko observe training launches of ballistic missiles as part of the exercise of the strategic deterrence force, in Moscow, Russia February 19, 2022.  (photo credit: SPUTNIK/ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko observe training launches of ballistic missiles as part of the exercise of the strategic deterrence force, in Moscow, Russia February 19, 2022.
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warned that Western sanctions were pushing Russia towards a "third world war," as The Washington Post reported that Belarus was preparing to send troops into Ukraine on Sunday.

"In a situation like this, we should be aware that there are such sanctions. A great deal is being said about the banking sector. Gas, oil, SWIFT. It’s worse than war," said Lukashenko at a referendum on changing Belarus's constitution, according to the president's website. "Russia is being pushed towards a third world war. We should be very reserved and steer clear of it. Because nuclear war is the end of everything."

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The Belarusian president stated that the retaliatory sanctions by Russia and Belarus would be very sensitive in order to ensure that they do not also impact them.

Lukashenko claimed that America is the "only beneficiary" of the current conflict, saying that the US aimed to "put Europe in its place and remove competitors."

 A member of the Ukrainian State Border Guard stands watch at the border crossing between Ukraine and Belarus, Feb. 13, 2022. (credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images/JTA) A member of the Ukrainian State Border Guard stands watch at the border crossing between Ukraine and Belarus, Feb. 13, 2022. (credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images/JTA)

"Today we must stop the war," Lukashenko stated while casting a ballot at the referendum. "I would not even call it ‘war’ right now: It is still a conflict. Another day or two and there will be a war. In three days - a meat grinder." The Belarusian president added that Russia aimed to "restore Ukraine," without specifying what it would be restored to.

Lukashenko denied that Belarus was taking part in the fighting, adding that no missiles were being fired from Belarusian territory, except for "two or three rockets" which were fired on February 23 after Ukrainian missile batteries were allegedly detected near the country's border.

"Russia does not need this. They have ammunition, cartridges, machine guns, and enough people to solve the problems that Russia wants to solve," he said, claiming that Belarusian and Russian people in Ukraine were being beaten and poisoned. "They started beating them, poisoning them. They threaten us with terrorist acts."

On Sunday, almost two-thirds of Belarusians expressed support for adopting a new constitution that would ditch its non-nuclear status, chairman of the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) Igor Karpenko said, according to TASS.

The Belarusian president stressed that the country would only ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to transfer nuclear weapons to Belarus if such weapons were transferred by the West to Poland or Lithuania.

On Sunday, Putin put Russia's strategic deterrence forces, which includes nuclear weapons, on a "special service regime," according to TASS. The move was made due to "aggressive statements" by NATO leaders, he said.

Lukashenko stated that additional weapons will be transferred from Russia to Belarus in the near future. He warned that Belarusian troops are ready to deploy within a matter of hours, "if necessary."

"In the near future – we already know what additional equipment we need – we will agree with Putin and we will transfer additional appropriate weapons from Russia, which can cause such unacceptable damage that neither the Poles nor the Lithuanians will want to fight with us," warned the Belarusian president.

“It’s very clear" that the Belarusian capital of "Minsk is now an extension of the Kremlin,” said a US administration official who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity. The official said that Belarusian troops could deploy to Ukraine as soon as Monday.