Belarus Says Army Ready To To Join War If Attacked
President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday warned that if his country comes under threat or attack, the Belarusian army is ready to fight alongside its Russian ally.
"I am ready to fight with the Russians from the territory of Belarus in only one case: If even one soldier comes onto the territory of Belarus to kill my people," he told a news conference, according to state-run Belta news agency.
"If they commit aggression against Belarus, the response will be the most severe, and the war will take on a completely different nature," he added.
Already Belarus is under US and EU sanctions for the role it's played thus far in assisting the Russian invasion, particularly since it served as a launching pad for Russian troops ahead of the initial invasion.
Ukrainian officials have for months now warned that Belarus is preparing to formally join the war, and have alleged that Belarus is allowing Russian drones to be launched from its territory, which have pummeled Ukraine's national energy infrastructure and terrorized cities.
But still, Lukashenko appeared to stress in his fresh remarks that Belarus will join the attack on Ukraine "only" if attacked first. "This applies to our other neighbors," Lukashenko said. "If they commit an aggression against Belarus, our response will be the most cruel. The most cruel!"
He said that for now, "I do not plan to send my people, my soldiers (there)" to Ukraine. According to Moscow Times, "Belarus still hosts an undeclared number of Russian troops but Lukashenko has promised not to send his forces — estimated at between 60,000 and 70,000 — over the southern border to Ukraine."
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has announced that Putin and Lukashenko will engaged in talks concerning the ongoing strategic partnership between the two allies, including further integration within the 'Union State', expected for Friday.