Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko tonight issued a chilling threat that the West’s sanctions on Russia are pushing the Kremlin into a Third World War, after Vladimir Putin put his nuclear deterrent forces on ‘alert’.
Lukashenko’s comments came as Kyiv and Moscow agreed to hold peace talks at the border with Belarus – though Volodymyr Zelensky admitted he wasn’t confident of a positive resolution, adding that he owed it to his people to at least try and engage.
This evening also saw the EU unveil a fresh package of sanctions against Putin’s regime, closing off its airspace to all Russian planes and banning Kremlin propaganda outlets Russia Today and Sputnik.
‘Now there is a lot of talk against the banking sector, gas, oil, SWIFT,’ Lukashenko said. ‘It’s worse than war. This is pushing Russia into a Third World War. We need to be restrained here so as not to get into trouble. Because nuclear war is the end of everything.’
Ukrainian President Zelensky’s office had earlier said the two delegations will meet ‘without preconditions’ near the Pripyat River, to the north of Chernobyl, in a deal brokered in a phone call with Lukashenko himself.
A spokesperson added that Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return.
Zelensky described his discussion with Lukashenko as ‘very substantive’, adding that he had made it clear he did not want troops to move from Belarus to Ukraine and Lukashenko ‘assured him of this’.
Read more: Lukashenko chillingly threatens that the West’s sanctions are ‘pushing Russia into a Third World War’ after Putin puts his nuclear deterrent forces on ‘alert’, while Ukrainian president Zelensky says he doesn’t hold out much hope for peace talks