Putin Ally Lukashenko Warns Ukraine War Could End in Military Coup Against Zelensky

Ukraine will soon be facing off with a military coup, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko baselessly predicted in a rage-fueled interview with reporters Thursday.

“Things may come to the point when the military will come to Kyiv and twist the politicians’ necks—Zelensky’s too,” Lukashenko said, intimating that he thinks the Ukrainian people are fed up with war. “The Ukrainian military will come to Kyiv and put everyone into their places. Because they are in the meat grinder, while the Ukrainian authorities are touring around Europe asking for weapons, fighter jets and so on to standing ovations.”

“Time will pass and people… will start asking him [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky]: ‘Do we have to suffer all our lives? For what? What’s next?’ Meanwhile Zelensky is going to fight to the last Ukrainian and so on,” Lukashenko said, according to Belta. “What person would like that?”

A recent poll shows that approximately 85 percent of Ukrainians support fighting the war until every inch of Ukraine is free, according to the Kyiv Post.

If the west continues to help Ukraine defend its territory, though—something Lukashenko erroneously described as the west helping Poland try to take Ukrainian territory—Lukashenko warned that there will be an effort to “split” Ukraine up.

“I am referring to your attempts to wrest the western parts out of Ukraine by the hands of Poland. Well, the fight is going to be epic. And then you will not be asking me whether we will attack it from the territory of Belarus or not. You accuse Russia of wanting to tear off a piece of Ukraine. But it is you who want to dismember Ukraine by the hands of Poland,” Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko’s warnings about a possible military coup and splitting Ukraine up come just a week before Russia’s war, which Belarus has helped along the way by serving as a launchpad for attacks, will reach its one-year mark. And although Lukashenko said he wants “peace,” there are no signs that his willingness to support Putin is waning. Lukashenko said Thursday he is still willing to allow Russia to use Belarusian territory as a staging ground to continue attacking Ukraine.

“I’m ready to provide territory again,” Lukashenko said, according to a BBC translation.

His ominous remarks come as Russia prepares to mobilize 300,000 to 500,000 troops for the war in Ukraine in preparation for a renewed offensive, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

Belarus, which forms a “union state” with Russia and works with Moscow to intertwine the Belarusian and Russian militaries, has been conducting joint drills with Russian troops in Belarus since October. In recent weeks Belarus has also been sending troops to the border with Ukraine and pulling out armored vehicles from storage in a signal that the country might be preparing for further military action.

Ukrainian authorities have warned Ukraine must be prepared for possible attacks from the north.

Lukashenko noted Thursday that he is prepared to more directly involve Belarus in the war if a soldier from Ukraine, or any other nation, commits “aggression” against Belarus, echoing earlier predictions from Russian authorities.

Why didn’t you give Russia a piece of paper?

“I am ready to fight together with the Russians from the territory of Belarus only in one case: if at least one soldier sets foot in Belarus to kill my people. If they commit aggression against Belarus, the answer will be immediate,” Lukashenko said. “The war will acquire a completely different scale then.”

Lukashenko promised to increase his 75,000-strong army to 500,000, if prompted to go to war.

The warnings come just as the Kremlin confirmed Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be holding a meeting with Lukashenko Friday in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow. The two will have a “substantial conversation,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

So far, Putin has not asked Lukashenko to engage directly in the war, Lukashenko said.

“Russia has never asked me to start the operation against Ukraine together,” he said.

Lukashenko has long toed the line of supporting Russia, while also working towards maintaining some independence from Moscow. And while Lukashenko has supported Russia while it wages war in Ukraine, he has also continuously stated that he is not interested in participating in war. Lukashenko repeated claims Thursday that Belarus wants peace.

“War is not needed. As long as there is no expansion of this aggression today, let’s negotiate peace,” Lukashenko said.

Belarusian support for going to war, though, has been lacking. Belarus’ opposition has been plotting to form an alliance with Zelensky, as The Daily Beast previously reported. Some Belarusians have left Belarus to fight alongside Ukrainians against Russia’s invasion, which has raised the specter of Belarus’ armed forces facing widespread desertion if Belarus formally goes to war—a concern that Lukashenko appears to know.

“I understand them [citizens of Belarus] and therefore I am not going to send people there,” Lukashenko said.

And although Lukashenko says he wants peace, he renewed accusations that the west had caused the war.

“Was the war worth it or would it be better to give Russia security guarantees which it requested from you on paper?” Lukashenko said, likely referring to security guarantees Russia demanded in December of 2021, just before invading Ukraine. “Back then Russia and Putin demanded that you give them a written document of security guarantees that no aggression against Russia would be committed from Ukraine or Europe, which is nearby… why didn’t you give Russia a piece of paper? You didn’t because you needed a war.”

The list from Russia included demands that the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pledge to not add any new members, including Ukraine, to the defensive alliance meant to curb Russian aggression. Putin also demanded that NATO remove troops and weapons from its eastern flank.

At the time, Russia had already amassed hundreds of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border, poised to strike.

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