Kiev: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Belarus is being drawn into Russia’s ongoing war against Kiev more actively than at the beginning, and that the Kremlin has already “decided everything” for Minsk.
In his nightly video address on Sunday, the President said: “I want to address today particularly the citizens of Belarus, to people, both in uniform and civilians. You are being drawn into the war. And even more actively than in February and spring.
“The Kremlin has already decided everything for you. Your lives are worthless to them. But you are not slaves and not cannon fodder, you should not die. And you can not let anyone decide what awaits you next”.
Zelensky however, expressed confidence that the people of Belarus support Ukraine, not the war, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
“And that is why the Russian leadership wants to involve you, all Belarusians, in the war. It wants to sow hatred between us. A lot depends on the common people of Belarus now.
I know that you may not take part in this war. Your lives belong only to you, and not to someone in the Kremlin,” he added.
Speaking in Russian, Zelensky further addressed the forces from Moscow who are conducting missile strikes on Ukrainian territory, Ukrayinska Pravda reported.
“We will find all of you, each of you will be responsible for these strikes. And if someone thinks he will evade responsibility by saying that this was an order, you are wrong.
“When your missiles hit residential buildings, it is a war crime. The court will be waiting for you. And you will not hide anywhere, neither on the shores of the Caspian Sea, over which your missiles are launched, nor in Belarus,” the President said.
The Ukrainian leader’s remarks came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that Moscow will supply Iskander-M nuclear capable missiles to Minsk in the coming months.
According to Putin, the Iskander-M tactical missile systems “can use both ballistic and cruise missiles both in the standard and nuclear modifications”.
As the two Presidents held their meeting, Russian forces fired up to 50 missiles at targets across Ukraine on Saturday night, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
Most of these missiles were fired by Russian aircraft from Belarus. Russian planes entered Belarusian airspace, approached the border with Ukraine and conducted airstrikes.
Ukraine’s Chief Intelligence Directorate believes that the Kremlin wants to use the missile strikes to draw Belarus into the war.