Belarusian president warns that sanctions could 'push' Russia into 'third world war'

Belarusian president warns that sanctions could 'push' Russia into 'third world war'
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in 2020, Wikimedia Commons

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warned on Sunday that sanctions imposed upon Russia by the United States and its allies in the European Union in response to its invasion of Ukraine could trigger World War III.

"In a situation like this, we should be aware that there are such sanctions. A great deal is being said about the banking sector. Gas, oil, SWIFT. It’s worse than war. Russia is being pushed towards a third world war. We should be very reserved and steer clear of it. Because nuclear war is the end of everything,” Lukashenko said in a statement at a referendum on adopting a new constitution that would grant Russia permission to place nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Sixty-five percent of Belarusians approved of the measure, according to Igor Karpenko, the chairman of the Belarusian Central Election Commission (CEC).

"Today we must stop the war," Lukashenko continued. "I would not even call it ‘war’ right now: It is still a conflict. Another day or two and there will be a war. In three days - a meat grinder." He added that Russia is aiming to "restore Ukraine."

Lukashenko declared however that Russian nukes would only be permitted in Belarus if they appeared in Poland and Lithuania, both of which are members states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

"In the near future – we already know what additional equipment we need – we will agree with Putin and we will transfer additional appropriate weapons from Russia, which can cause such unacceptable damage that neither the Poles nor the Lithuanians will want to fight with us," said Lukashenko.

Lukashenko also claimed that the United States is the "only beneficiary" from Russia's attack on Ukraine. He accused the US of seeking to "put Europe in its place and remove competitors."

Lukashenko's address was first reported byThe Jerusalem Post.

Lukashenko’s proclamation followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's directive placing his country's nuclear arsenal on high alert over the weekend, adding to worldwide concern that Putin is unstable and unpredictable. The White House dismissed Putin's bluster as "manufacturing threats that don't exist in order to justify further aggression."

Lukashenko's remarks were delivered as representatives for the Russian Federation and on behalf of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy began purported peace talks along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

Meanwhile, Kyiv is exercising all of its options to negotiate a cease-fire with the Kremlin. On Monday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov gave Moscow’s military an ultimatum.

“We offer Russian soldiers a choice: die in an unjust war, or be granted full amnesty and 5 million rubles compensation,” Reznikov wrote in a statement on Twitter, "if they lay down their arms and voluntarily surrender."

Based on current exchange rates – and as a result of sanctions – 5,000,000 rubles is equivalent to $45764.50.

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