Foreign detractors are waging a hybrid war against Belarus, treating it as a testing ground before their "attack on the East", said self-proclaimed Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, speaking in the Belarusian parliament.
According to him, the real goal of "Western strategists" is Russia, against which "one well-known extremist channel, which was born from Belarusian problems, is already actively working."
"We are on the front line of not just a cold but already an icy war," Lukashenka said. “And if something breaks out here, it will mean another world war. In this war, Belarus does not count on winning, but even if it stays alone, our goal is to inflict irreparable damage on the enemy".
"There is no point in shaking Belarus," Lukashenko said. "That's why before you rattle your sabers near our borders, you have to think about it. Stop!" Lukashenko added.
According to Lukashenko, the new economic sanctions announced by the European Union, which the United States may join, showed that mass protests in Belarus are no longer possible, and the enemy has moved "from organizing riots to the strangulation of the country."
Minsk's answer will be the flow of drugs towards Europe. "We stopped drugs and migrants. Now you will eat them and catch them yourself," Lukashenko said.
"We must keep our country and leave it for our children in a normal state," he continued, adding that tough measures against the opposition "may seem excessive to those who approve of their atrocities", but they are justified and "vital" for the country.
As for the forced landing of the Ryanair flight to arrest NEXTA founder Roman Protasevich, Lukashenko said the actions were lawful and justified in order to "protect people in accordance with all international rules."
“Those who left the plane in Minsk were made into "fake KGB officers," but they just left not to fly to Vilnius”, Lukashenko explained.
According to Lukashenko, the report about the explosive device on board the airliner, which the Belarusian authorities used as a pretext to scramble a fighter jet to escort the airliner came from Switzerland. The Hamas group, which Minsk accused of reporting a bomb on board the plane, denied its involvement in the incident.
The Belarusian national airline BelAvia, which has been banned from using the EU airspace and airports, will fly over the neutral waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Baltic Sea, as well as over the North Pole, Lukashenko said. "No one will block us."
If the sanctions are expanded, Belarus may impose an embargo on the import of goods and restrict the transit of goods trough its territory, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said.
The West, according to him, is using a network of provocateurs and agents to attack the country's financial system, but "their operation failed miserably": the Belarusian ruble is stable, the inflow of currency into banks exceeds its outflow.
"We suggest sobering up and thinking again before embarking on the slippery path of economic war, in which there will be no winners," Golovchenko said.