The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is urging Russia to respect the sovereignty of his county.
In his annual address to parliament and the people of Belarus, on April 21, President Lukashenko asked Moscow not to consider Belarus Russia’s “errand boy.”
“I want Russians — and especially Russia’s leaders — to understand that we will not be errand boys. We are an independent, sovereign state that lives with you in the same building but has its own apartment. It may be small, but it is ours,” Lukashnko said.
While Lukashenko agreed that Russia is the main strategic partner of Belarus, he emphasized that the West is very important for Minsk as well.
In an April 2015 interview with Bloomberg News, Lukashenko stated that his country would never be a part of Russia and would fight against any invader “to the last man.”
According to Lukashenko, there are many politicians in Russia who “think imperialistically and do not see Belarus as anything other than some kind of northwestern province.”
He stressed that similar notions have but one response: “We will not be some northwestern province, just as we will never enter into a conflict with Russia,” he concluded.
Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian Crimea in March 2014 and Russia’s involvement in the east of Ukraine have raised concerns about the intentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the region.