Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has emphasized that his government does not seek to strain ties with neighboring Poland and hopes to maintain good relations. Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Brest region, which borders both Poland and Ukraine, Lukashenko stated, “We don’t want the Poles to consider us strangers, enemies. We never set out to fight with the Poles or even to aggravate relations with them. We have been good neighbors to them and will continue to be.”
The president further highlighted that Belarus has a significant number of ethnic Poles living in the country, who have always been an integral part of the nation’s life. Lukashenko reassured that the Polish community has never faced discrimination in Belarus and should not view themselves as strangers in their own homeland. “These are my Poles. They live here and will continue to live here,” he added.
The relationship between Minsk and Warsaw has faced deterioration in recent years, particularly after the controversial 2020 Belarusian presidential election. The opposition disputed the results and accused Lukashenko of election fraud, leading to mass protests supported by the European Union (EU), with Poland being one of the most vocal proponents.
More recently, relations have worsened due to the presence of the Russian Wagner Group, a private military company, in Belarus following their failed insurrection in June. Poland has repeatedly alleged that the PMC has been active on the Polish-Belarusian border, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki even stating that it could be considered a step towards a “hybrid attack” on Polish territory.
Despite these tensions, Lukashenko has dismissed such allegations and criticized Warsaw for its reaction to the Wagner Group rumors, claiming that Poland had “gone mad.” The Belarusian leader’s comments regarding wanting good relations with Poland and reassuring the Polish community in Belarus can be seen as gestures to ease tensions and maintain stability in the region.
It is essential to note that Lukashenko’s statements come amid heightened geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe. The situation in neighboring Ukraine continues to be a source of concern, with ongoing conflicts and territorial disputes. Belarus, as a country with borders to both Poland and Ukraine, aims to navigate these complex dynamics while emphasizing the importance of peaceful coexistence with its neighbors.
In conclusion, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to maintaining good relations with Poland and expressed his desire for the Polish community in Belarus to feel welcome and secure. Despite recent tensions and challenges, Lukashenko’s statements underline the importance of stability and peaceful coexistence in the region.