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"The USA will continue to support Belarus"

— What specific results of your visit to Washington can we already talk about, what will be the longer-term results?

- There was a meeting at the Ministry of Defense at a fairly high level - Deputy Minister of Defense Celeste Wallander.

There was a series of consultations and negotiations in the State Department and in the US Congress.

And the last meeting was at the White House in the US National Security Council with the director for Belarus.

By the way, it so happened that there were two directors for Belarus at the meeting: one who is leaving his position, and the other, who was at work on his new position literally the first day.

The most important topics of discussion are the threats to the independence of Belarus, the double crisis, which the democratic forces, the civil society of Belarus and the entire Belarusian people need to deal with today.

This is an internal political crisis in Belarus and this is a war against Ukraine, into which Lukashenka dragged our country.

Important conclusions of the negotiations, which should be noted - the USA will continue to support Belarus, the USA will not concede the independence of Belarus.

Sanctions against the regime will be strengthened.

In no case is there a conversation to weaken them, on the contrary, it is said about what can be done to increase their effectiveness.

It is important that political cooperation with the political forces of Belarus will continue.

This means that we are waiting for new meetings at a high level.

Perhaps it will be international forums, perhaps it will be bilateral visits.

Exchange of information, comparison of positions, development of new steps to solve these crises will continue.

Assistance will also continue for the civil society of Belarus, which includes independent media, human rights defenders, cultural issues, and other spheres that are becoming more and more prominent today.

Many Belarusians have left Belarus, they are creating new communities, they are creating new strong organizations, and it is very important to support this movement.

We discussed coordination in international activities - what we could do together, the USA and Belarus, in order to "illuminate" the situation in our country, attract resources, instruments of international organizations to solve our problems.

Finally, it is important to mention a new sphere for us.

This is security cooperation.

The fact that there is a military threat to Belarus from Russia should also be discussed and new forms of cooperation should be sought.

And here it is worth noting the readiness of the USA and the Biden administration to go to such talks and develop new steps.

"The war started from Belarus and with the help of Lukashenka - this is the answer to the question of what can be done today to stop this war"

- From what you heard, does it seem that the USA has an understanding that solving the crisis in Belarus is part of solving another crisis - Russia's war against Ukraine, and victory here is impossible without solving the crisis in Belarus?

- Of course.

We are talking about the mutual dependence and mutual interest of Ukraine and Belarus in solving the crisis in Belarus and helping Ukraine defend itself from this aggression.

We also note that if the war started from Belarus and with the help of Lukashenka, then perhaps this is the answer to the question of what can be done today to stop this war — to get Belarus out of this war, to get rid of Lukashenka, to force him to give way, to resign from this post, so that Belarus has a democratic regime that would in no way threaten Ukraine again and that would be able to provide security guarantees to Ukraine, and that we would finally move on to building a mutual partnership with Ukraine, and not what we see today.

"War can come to Belarus in this way"

— On January 10, Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya voiced the priorities of the Demsyls, one of which is the prevention of Belarus' participation in the war.

Let's imagine that in the near future the borders of Belarus will be closed, Russia will attack Ukraine from the territory of Belarus.

There are several options here: only Russian troops advance, Belarus continues to provide territories and resources, Belarusian troops advance separately or they advance as part of the Russian army.

In the last two worst scenarios of the development of events, what will be the position of the Cabinet, deputies, and you personally?

- This will be the same red line, crossing which Lukashenka will no longer be able to pretend that he has nothing to do with the war.

This will be a red mark that will show that Lukashenka is completely under the control of the Kremlin, that he is not only doing everything against national interests, but undermining the national security of our country.

This is a person who has no effective control over the territory.

And this presents us with the question of a new opportunity to bring this issue before the UN Security Council, before the international community, to withdraw full recognition from Lukashenka, a person who in no way represents the Belarusian people.

This sets a new perspective for the Ukrainian leadership, which, as we see, to this day maintains a very restrained position regarding contacts with the democratic community of Belarus.

Precisely because they would not want to provoke Lukashenka into such an invasion.

If we talk about possible scenarios, more or less worst, then we note that the Ukrainians have already said: if they will see the gathering of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, if they will see a real threat of a new invasion, whether by Russian troops, whether by the united forces, they will carry out preventive strikes on the territory of Belarus, on these objects.

This means that the war will really come to the territory of Belarus, and it will create a completely new context, not only foreign policy and military, but also social, when Belarusians will see that Belarus has again become part of the war and that for the first time since the Second World War, bombs are falling on the territory of Belarus .

We are forced to understand the position of Ukrainians, who have already experienced one such invasion and suffered greatly.

We understand that this risk is very, very high.

And even before the most negative scenarios can happen, the war can come to Belarus in this way.

  • Anna Sous

    Radio Svaboda journalist

    Editor of the "Only women" community on Facebook