Recently, Alexander Lukashenko has launched a series of belligerent and threatening statements. The most vivid of them was expressed on Friday in Luninets. The Belarusian leader announced his readiness to «strike back so hard that that it will be more than they can handle.» Moreover, Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that he speaks not only on his own behalf, but also on behalf of Russia as the chairman of the Council of the Union State.
«Therefore, those about whom you asked, those abroad who are worried, should understand perfectly well that we do not want a war. But if they do not only constantly pull on us, as they are doing now, but deploy armies against us, intimidate us, and put us on the brink of survival with all sorts of sanctions and so on, economic-non-economic, threatening us even more, as they are doing now – I am speaking now as chairman of the Council of the Union State – then we will strike back so hard that it will be more than they can handle. They shouldn’t take us on. We cannot be defeated. In spirit we are the kind of people that it is impossible to overcome. This is true also in terms of territory, as from Brest to Vladivostok many have already tried, and we remember. How it all ended is clear. Therefore, best to not pull on us. We do not climb into anyone’s backyard; we have enough land. God bless it and keep it. These are our goals. But once again I repeat that if someone did not understand: it will prove more than they can handle. I’m not threatening, I’m just warning: God save you!,» he said.
On Tuesday, speaking to the research staff of the Academy of Sciences, he softened his tone somewhat, saying that he did not want any «war.» Later, referring to the experience of the Second World War and the War of 1812, he nevertheless added that he was ready for any development of events and spoke of the need to create a military group «to cover almost one and a half thousand kilometers of the border with Ukraine.»
All this is happening against the backdrop of the arrival of Russian troops in Belarus to participate in the unscheduled Allied Resolve-2022 exercises, which were reported only at the end of November 2021. Moreover, the transfer of troops comes from the Far East. The discussion then is about exercises for a regional grouping of Russian and Belarusian troops, but about its strengthening from troops stationed in the eastern part of Russia. The total number of troops is unknown but reports of their arrival are received daily. According to Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, the number of Russian troops arriving in Belarus is three to four times higher than the number that was deployed to participate in the Zapad-2021 exercises. At that time 2,500 Russian soldiers arrived on Belarusian soil. Russia states that the number of troops deployed does not exceed the limit set by the Vienna Document of 2011 (no more than 13,000 people). But one way or another, there is no official data on the size of the group being created, which naturally contributes to the growth of tension between Belarus and Ukraine and is which is fueled by aggressive statements.
Tensions are also being formed on the western and northern borders of Belarus. During the same speech at the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko could not hold himself back and boasted that the artificially created migration crisis was far from over. According to him, migrants continue to pass to EU countries through Belarusian territory, and only during the last week about 200 people entered Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.
«It seems that there is no longer a situation with refugees, but it only seems so to you. As they went, so they continue to go. They go straight across. And it is what I warned the West about; that they used to fly on airplanes, but now they go on foot. Not crowds, so far, but seeping in a little here. Every day. Over the past week, across the territory, according to their data, they say that up to 200 people in only a week crossed to the other side – to Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia – but mainly to Poland,» he said.
Anatoly Lappo, head of the State Border Committee of Belarus, also reported on the growing tension on the border. Moreover, he went further and described a possible scenario for the beginning of a future conflict. According to him, he received information that the Polish security forces were planning to kidnap a Belarusian border guard and gave the order to «immediately use weapons without warning» in the event of this. As an example of provocations, he cited the damage done to border posts. Lappo also explained the increased likelihood of incidents by the fact that it is not border guards but the military on the Polish side of the border.
«If real Polish border guards were serving, this would not have happened. When people came who don’t understand anything… That’s what they wanted, or maybe it was on purpose,» he said.
It can be said that Lukashenko’s hysteria has already put the situation in the region in an extremely dangerous position. Attempts to solve internal problems by creating the image of an external enemy are considered indecent, and not only because they look tasteless. Oftentimes in world history this approach has ended badly. Neighboring countries are forced to respond to statements about war and aggression by any politician, especially if that person de facto leads the country. Add to this the close presence of large groups of armed individuals next to one other who are wound up and ordered to shoot «without warning and immediately» and the likelihood of tragic incidents that can lead to a real military conflict increases dramatically, even if, in fact, you were only looking to shout and not fight. This can happen unintentionally and unexpectedly to the shock of both parties.