Ukraine on Wednesday rejected a congratulatory statement from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on its Independence Day as a “blood-soaked” message as he permits Russia to launch attacks on Ukraine from within Belarus’ borders.
Top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, hit back after Lukashenko said he “wished Ukrainians peaceful skies, tolerance, courage, strength and success in restoring a decent life” in a statement posted on the administration’s official website.
“Lukashenko truly believes the world does not notice his participation in crimes against Ukraine,” Podolyak wrote. “That is why he cynically wishes us a ‘peaceful sky’ while allowing deadly rockets to hit us.
“This blood-soaked clowning is recorded and will have consequences,” he added.
Ukraine celebrated 31 years of independence from the Soviet Union Wednesday, but the day was also marked by the six-month anniversary from when Russian invaded Ukraine in February – a move that Lukashenko has repeatedly backed.
The Belarusian president has received international condemnation for his role in allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to launch missiles at Ukrainian targets – including the capital city of Kyiv – from within Belarus’ borders.
Ukrainian officials have voiced concern over Minsk’s troop movements along the Belarusian border where it has not only increased troop size but has tested its troop’s combat readiness.
Belarus and Russia have further been engaging in coordinated military drills and Lukashenko has been one of the few international leaders to openly support Putin’s deadly war.
He has also echoed Putin’s talking points and said Belarus is “the only country in the world to support Russia in its fight against Nazism.”
Contrary to his repeated support for Russia, Lukashenko on Wednesday said he is “convinced that today’s disputes will not be able to destroy the centuries-old foundation of sincere good neighborly relations between the people of the two countries.”
But despite Belarus’ support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, a spokesman for Ukraine’s intelligence ministry said Kyiv is not worried about the threat of a Belarusian invasion.
“Although Belarus is already one way or another participating in the war against Ukraine, there is currently no threat of ground operation by the Belarusian state,” the agency said in a Facebook post Wednesday ahead of Lukashenko’s message.