No matter what Lukashenko may agree with Putin about, no matter what kind of help he is promised – military, hybrid or propaganda – any intervention by Russia in the situation in Belarus is unacceptable and will be criminal.

Yesterday Lukashenko announced that he would receive from Moscow “at the first request, comprehensive assistance to ensure the security of the Republic of Belarus,” and mentioned the CSTO – the Collective Security Treaty Organisation of the CIS countries. However, the CSTO charter provides for military assistance only in the event of external aggression. There is no external aggression that violates the stability in Belarus, and only Russian “fraternal assistance” poses a potential threat to its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Therefore, there is no reason for a military invasion of the territory of a CSTO member state.

The matter is quite different. The problem is Lukashenko himself, who:

Finally, many years of boundless lies and rudeness cause a categorical rejection among the inhabitants of the country.

It is for these, exclusively internal reasons, that absolutely fair and justified peaceful mass protests have been taking place in Belarus for a week now. The repressive actions of the Belarusian authorities speak for themselves: more than 6.500 people were detained, many people were severely beaten, subjected to torture and humiliation.

In such conditions, any interference from Russia will be rejected by the citizens of the republic. Belarus – with or without Lukashenko – is an independent and sovereign state. Russia’s strategic interest is to admit it and not get involved.

The justification for Russian military intervention by some “sudden appearance of NATO soldiers” [at the border of Belarus] will not be taken seriously.

True, the absolute majority of people [in Belarus] are for good relations with Russia, but only if the state independence and inviolability of the sovereignty of Belarus are preserved.

Social and human ties between our countries are historically so deep, and the Belarusian economy is so closely connected with the Russian market, that if something can interfere with the prospect of mutually beneficial integration of Russia and Belarus, it is only the imposition of the will of the Russian authorities on the Belarusian people.

The Belarusians themselves will sort out their domestic affairs.

Hands off Belarus!

I express my solidarity with the Belarusian people in their striving for freedom.