Kremlin ally Lukashenko urges 'truce' in Ukraine

AFP , Ahram Online , Friday 31 Mar 2023

Belarusian strongman and close Kremlin ally Alexander Lukashenko called Friday for a "truce" in Ukraine and talks "without preconditions" between Moscow and Kyiv.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivers a state-of-the-nation address in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 31, 2023. AP


"We must stop now, before an escalation begins. I'll take the risk of suggesting an end of hostilities... a declaration of a truce," Lukashenko said during a televised state of the nation address.

"All territorial, reconstruction, security and other issues can and should be settled at the negotiation table, without preconditions," added Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994.

He also said that Western support for Kyiv was increasing the likelihood of a nuclear war breaking out in Ukraine.

"As a result of the efforts of the United States and its satellites, a full-scale war has been unleashed in (Ukraine)... a third world war with nuclear fires looms on the horizon," he said.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin announced that it is aware of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and will discuss it with him in the coming days.

However, as per the Kremlin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, some aspects of the peace plan proposed by China cannot be implemented due to Ukraine's obedience to orders from the West not to negotiate with Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss Lukashenko's call for negotiations, but it is currently impossible to achieve the goals of the ongoing "special military operation" in Ukraine, Peskov added.

Belarus has allowed Russian forces to use its territory as a launchpad for Moscow's offensive, but Lukashenko has so far refused to send troops over the border.

Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in the Moscow-allied country, drawing condemnation from the West.

Belarus said it was forced to host Russian nuclear weapons because of "unprecedented" Western pressure, insisting their deployment did not violate international agreements.

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