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Belarusian Troops Not Taking Part in Russia's Operation in Ukraine, Says President Lukashenko

© Photo : Press service of Belarusian President /  / Go to the mediabankPresident of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, 30 November 2021
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, 30 November 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.02.2022
Earlier on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine, which he said is "aimed at protecting the people" of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics from the "genocide" waged by the Ukrainian authorities.
Belarusian troops are not taking any part in a special operation conducted by Russian forces in Ukraine, President Alexander Lukashenko has said on Thursday. Ukraine's military leadership had been warned about a possible operation by Russia, but did not take any steps, the Belarusian media outlet Belta quoted President Lukashenko as saying.
He said a representative of the Ukrainian military had contacted Minsk last night and during the conversation the Belarusian president suggested calling the Russian authorities to "avoid bloodshed". "Did he contact Moscow? He didn't", Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian president stressed that it is important to avoid full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine. He suggested holding negotiations between the two sides in the capital Minsk.
Alexander Lukashenko also emphasised that the demilitarisation of Ukraine, the country's refusal to join NATO, and cessation of hostilities in Donbass are needed for the talks to begin.
Minsk will soon discuss recognition of the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics, the Belarusian president said. Alexander Lukashenko also said that he plans to hold negotiations with Vladimir Putin in the coming days on supplies of weapons to Belarus in order to strengthen the country's western borders.
On 21 February, Moscow recognised the independence of the two breakaway republics following the escalation of attacks on them, which saw both the LPR and DPR order the evacuation of the civilian population to Russia. Ukraine has categorically denied it had conducted attacks on the two republics.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start a special operation in the LPR and DPR to protect the local population from "genocide" waged by Kiev. He emphasised that Moscow has no intention of occupying Ukraine.
The Russian Defence Ministry said that there is no threat to the civilian population of Ukraine, as it is conducting precision strikes on military infrastructure - air defence facilities, military airfields, and air forces.
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