18 Aug 2020 20:34

Lukashenko accuses opposition of being anti-Russian, pro-Western

MINSK. Aug 18 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claims that the Belarusian opposition's 2030 manifesto envisions the country's exit from the Union State with Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and its subsequently joining the European Union and NATO.

"For example, exit from the Union State, from the Eurasian Union, the Customs Union, other Russia-dominated blocs. I must say that in none of these does Russia dominate. Read the by-laws. Issues are addressed by consensus, and every country has one vote," Lukashenko was quoted by the Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA as saying about the opposition's manifesto.

The opposition also proposes introducing border and customs control with Russia, "i.e., a Belarusian-Russian border is being erected with all the consequences that it entails," he said.

The opposition manifesto envisions a withdrawal from the CSTO and the closure of the Russian military bases (a communications hub in Vileyka and a radar near Baranovichi) in Belarus, he said. "What I cannot understand is in what way the military bases threaten us. These are not even combat units. Ninety per cent of their staff are our people, who receive a proper salary," he said.

"One has to understand that the danger is that we have Soviet, Russian weapons. If we pull out of the CSTO, and with such an anti-Russian line at that, these weapons will turn into clutter within a year," Lukashenko said.

The opposition also proposes to apply for EU and NATO membership, he said. "Ukraine has installed a 'democracy', probably about a decade ago, but no one, neither NATO, nor the EU has admitted it. Moreover, no one is expecting anyone there. Them [Ukrainians], let alone us. We would simply ruin our country with it," Lukashenko said.

The de-facto opposition proposes closing the border with Russia, he said. "Next: the development, an extensive one, of our western border infrastructure with the EU. As you have heard, we are closing the border with Russia. The consequences are not hard to predict. If we today are trading with Russia, you know what will happen tomorrow," Lukashenko said.

He also alleged that U.S media outlets floated a theory about a union of three seas: "The Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Adriatic Sea. Russia is not there, Serbia is not there; Belarus is. We have already been included."