On September 17th, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced he was putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders to Poland, Lithuania, and with the EU, overall.
“We are forced to withdraw troops from the streets, put the army on high alert, and close the state border on the West, primarily with Lithuania and Poland,” Lukashenko said.
President Alexander Lukashenko’s decision to close the borders with Poland and Lithuania underlines his repeated claim that the protests are driven by the West.
Protests began after the August 9 presidential election that official results say gave the authoritarian leader a sixth term in office; opponents say the results were manipulated.
He further said that the border control with Ukraine would be strengthened.
“I don’t want my country to be at war. Moreover, I don’t want Belarus and Poland, Lithuania to turn into a theatre of military operations where our issues will not be resolved,” he said.
“Therefore, today in front of this hall of the most beautiful, advanced, patriotic people I want to appeal to the peoples of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine — stop your crazy politicians, don’t let war break out.”
Latvia was unmentioned, but it also appears to remain relatively silent regarding the situation in Belarus.
Lukashenko also condemned the European Parliament’s decision not to recognize the Belarusian elections.
“I want to say the following in response to this, so that no one worries in Russia or Belarus. We held elections based on the constitution and laws of our country, and we don’t require recognition from anyone,” he said.
Earlier on the same day, opposition leader, who is still in Lithuania, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said activists are compiling a list of law enforcement officers who were allegedly involved in violence against protesters denouncing the results of the vote.
Tikhanovskaya is also to visit the European Parliament and meet with the EU’s Foreign ministers.
On September 16th, the former stay at home housewife and English teacher said that she would guarantee Lukashenko’s “safety” if he left power “peacefully.”
“This is all discussed. Of course, if he leaves peacefully, humanly, there is such a possibility. You can even say confidence. Personally, I have to speak for all people. And the opinion of all people will be taken into account in this matter.”
When asked about Lukashenko’s security guarantees, Tikhanovskaya replied that the president would receive “even more.” At the same time, she did not specify what she meant by “big” guarantees.”
On September 18th, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, during a trip to Lithuania, that the two countries will continue to offer medical and material assistance to Belarusians who were hurt and persecuted during the protests.
He argued the EU and international lenders should offer at least one billion euros ($1.18bn) in economic support for Belarus and its businesses.
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