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Lukashenko conducts ‘covert partial mobilization’ to recruit some 2,000 people, media say
The Belarusian government has decided to impose the “anti-terrorist operation regime” in the face of possible “provocations” by neighboring countries, in the framework of the war between Russia and Ukraine, unleashed on February 24 on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Minsk.
“The head of our country has held a series of meetings with security agencies and the regime of anti-terrorist operation has been introduced. There was information about planned provocations by neighboring countries, connected with seizure of certain parts of the Belarusian territory,” Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has said.
“We see how from Ukraine they say: ‘We are soft and fluffy, we do not plan anything on the border with Belarus.’ Unfortunately, as of today the world has become such an unpredictable place that we cannot trust anyone, so we have to take care of our own security,” he said in an interview to the Russian daily ‘Izvestia’.
In this regard, Makei recalled that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stressed that “we must protect the people and ensure that the invader does not set foot on a meter of our land,” before stressing that “in the current situation, not a single such signal should go without an adequate response.”
“The Belarusian Armed Forces, security agencies and special services are ready to repel any provocation that may arise from neighboring countries,” explained the Belarusian foreign minister, who defended that the authorities “have always believed that only negotiations can solve a complex, tense and conflict-prone situation such as the one in Ukraine.”
“Every confrontation ends at the negotiating table, it is a diplomatic axiom. The events in Ukraine will end in the same way”, he argued, although he revealed that “colleagues from some European countries” recently told him in New York that “the Ukrainian leadership has received a clear order not to negotiate with the Russian leadership”.
In this way, he has pointed out that the “order” implies avoiding negotiations in Belarus and Turkey, which have so far hosted several rounds of contacts. “There were communiqués from some European colleagues, transferred in great secrecy, ordering (Ukrainian President Volodimir) Zelensky to do this,” he has said, before adding that he “will not name the countries.”
“I can only say that each time, after each round (of talks), the government delegation told us that there was clear progress and that they would continue after returning home, but then there were additional problems and difficulties, which could not take place, I think, without influence of some external adviser. Consequently, the negotiations had to start, not from scratch, but from some initial positions,” he lamented.
“I am absolutely convinced that the lack of independence of the Ukrainian leadership is one of the reasons for the continuation of the conflict in Ukraine,” he has outlined. “Unfortunately, I see no political will, at least on the Ukrainian side. I am pessimistic and believe that only the deterioration of the situation in the country can push for a solution,” he concluded.
Makei’s words come a day after the head of the Belarusian Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, assured that Minsk will only go to war if there is a violation of its border. “Belarus, as the president said, will not go to war and will not make claims except if our state border is violated. In this case we will defend ourselves,” he stressed, while accusing the international community of trying to “involve the country in a military conflict” by suggesting possible involvement.
COVERT PARTIAL MOBILIZATION
Lukashenko on Friday carried out a “covert partial mobilization” to recruit some 2,000 people in the midst of rising tensions in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the opposition-friendly daily ‘Nasha Niva’ has reported.
“Lukashenko has decided to carry out a partial mobilization to increase the number of troops. This will take place with an eye on the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces. Although it is not going to affect large cities in principle, the population in rural areas will be mobilized to a large extent,” sources close to the matter have told the above-mentioned media outlet.
In this sense, they have pointed out that this could increase the tension in the border area between Ukraine and Belarus shortly after Kiev requested the deployment of observers in the area fearing a “false flag” operation by Minsk to justify a possible attack. However, these same sources have indicated that if recruitment exceeds 5,000 people it could indicate the creation of an attack unit.
This week, Lukashenko reported that Minsk received through unofficial channels the warning of a possible attack from Ukraine and called such moves “madness” on the grounds that “the last thing Ukraine needs is a new open front in the north.” However, he warned that there will be a “forceful” response in case of an attack and recalled that Moscow and Minsk have already proceeded to the deployment of joint contingents in the face of increased tension on the western borders.