Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has revealed why he hesitated so long to address his supporters, saying that he had foreseen the possibility of clashes between them and demonstrators backing the opposition. Answering a question from an RT correspondent after a rally in the western Belarusian city of Grodno on Saturday, the president said:
"I tell you honestly – I knew it'd end this way [confrontations between rival demonstrators]. I feared there would be clashes in that troubled period of time and [the opposition] was preparing for it […] That's why we took a pause", Lukashenko said.
He admitted that he might have taken too long of a pause and thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for apparently helping him realize this fact.
"I must say 'thank you' to my friend Putin, who asked me 'Listen, why are you keeping mum?' I answered him – ‘you will hear from me soon’. Well, now you have heard", Lukashenko added.
Speaking at the meeting in the west of the country earlier in the day, Belarussian president said that he and Vladimir Putin agree that the current protests in the country are a prelude to similar attacks against Russia and hence must be stopped.