MOSCOW (Reuters) – Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that Minsk had absolutely no interest in a war and that conflict would only break out if Belarus or its close ally Russia were directly attacked.
Lukashenko made the remarks in a speech to lawmakers and officials. Moscow and Minsk are set to hold joint drills in Belarus to the north of Ukraine next month that have put the West on edge amid a wider Russian military buildup.
The Belarusian leader said the drills would help Minsk understand where it needed to concentrate forces and that Belarus had to protect its southern flank with Ukraine.
(Writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by John Stonestreet)