MINSK, March 1. /TASS/. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has said that signs of the West’s preparations for an aggression against Belarus and Russia have been in sight for a long time.
"On the pretext of dealing with the migration crisis in neighboring countries a military group was created ostensibly for protecting the border from an illegal influx of migrants. That group exceeded 30,000," Lukashenko said at an enlarged meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday, the BelTA news agency reports. "The Ukrainian army launched exercises in the Polesye region for training its troops for an operation in the Belarusian direction and started arming nationalist groups with the same aim."
Lukashenko said that the combination of these and other developments were a "clear indication the West is getting ready for aggression against Belarus and Russia."
The Belarusian president said that in the current situation the leaders of Belarus and Russia made a decision to test the combat readiness of the Union State’s joint reaction force, with the Union Resolve-2022 exercise being the final phase of that check.
"Incidentally, when the exercise was over, the Russian forces were ready to leave for their permanent bases. Actually, some began to leave," Lukashenko said. "But the West needed an armed conflict that could be blamed on Russia. They did not confine to media fakes or economic measures, but alerted an 8,000-strong group for redeployment to Europe."
Lukashenko said "the beefing up of Ukraine’s military potential grew immeasurably, with US planes bringing in loads of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other ammunition every day."
"Simultaneously, the Ukrainian army was stepping up the missile strikes against civilian facilities in Donbass," the Belarusian leader said. "In the current situation I asked the Russian president to keep part of the forces in the Gomel area. We had never had plans for going to war with Ukraine or suspected that we may be under threat from this direction. We have never stationed any army units there," Lukashenko said.
He recalled that in a situation like this Putin made a decision to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine.
"Naturally, there were plans for using the forces that remained on the territory of Belarus," Lukashenko said.
Before that decision was made, though, the reconnaissance forces spotted several air defense and missile battalions near the Belarusian border, meant for attacking Russian troops in Belarus.
"Simultaneously with the announcement of the decision to conduct the operation Russia carried out a pre-emptive strike against these heavy weapons in order to prevent its own losses and an impact on Belarus. Had that failed to be done, the missiles would have crashed in Gomel and Mozyr," Lukashenko explained.