Belarus’s military wouldn’t join Russia’s war in Ukraine and President Alexander Lukashenko would risk stirring public opinion further against him if tried to order it to do so, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said Thursday.
“I can’t imagine that now the Belarusian army would participate in this war, especially now that the whole world is united with the Ukrainians,” she told journalists in Brussels.
She predicted “he would not give this order — no”.
Lukashenko, who is a close personal ally to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, this week announced his forces would deploy together with Russian ones, but did not specify where.
His defence minister said the deployment would be “purely defensive”.
But the G7 grouping of world powers said such a joint mobilisation would be a new instance of “complicity” by Minsk in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Belarus already allowed Russia to use its territory to launch the invasion, earning it EU sanctions, though it insists its forces have not taken part in combat on Ukrainian soil.
Tikhanovskaya, who lives in exile in Lithuania while Belarus keeps her husband in prison, said there was no anti-Ukrainian sentiment in the Belarus people and military.
“I think that those (army) commanders told Lukashenko that if he gives this order the Beralusian army would defect and change sides, they would hide but they will not shoot into Ukrainians,” she said.