The Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko accused modern Germany of being Nazism on Tuesday (June 22) on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union and the day after the West imposed coordinated sanctions on the country.
The sanctions imposed by the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are in response to the forced transfer of international flights to Minsk last month to detain opposition activist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend on board.
The 66-year-old President of Belarus delivered a speech at the World War II commemoration that sanctions are part of the “mixed war” the West is conducting against his country.
But “We didn’t expect Germany to participate in this collective conspiracy,” he said.
“From the ancestors of those who destroyed not only a third of Belarusians in the Great Patriotic War, but also millions of unborn children.”
Lukashenko also pointed out that on the eve of the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Soviet Russia, sanctions were a “symbolic” timing.
On Monday, Lukashenko said in a speech to the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who called for extensive economic sanctions against Belarus: “Who are you? A penitent German…or the heir to the Nazis?”
Lukashenko has ruled the former Soviet country for nearly three years and suppressed the opposition after massive protests broke out after the controversial presidential election last year.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus also condemned the new sanctions earlier on Tuesday, and Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said that the authorities are considering “appropriate measures”.
In August last year, after Lukashenko claimed to be re-elected for a sixth term with an overwhelming advantage, the European Union and the United States both brutally suppressed the opposition against dozens of individuals and entities.
Brussels and London on Monday added seven officials — including the Belarusian Minister of Defense and Transportation — to their sanctions blacklist because of the grounding of Ryanair’s jets.
‘A complete mockery’
The EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg also supported extensive sanctions against the Belarusian regime’s main sources of income: potash fertilizer exports, the tobacco industry, petroleum and petrochemical products.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: “It can be said that deliberate and destructive actions against the people are continuing to’finally drain the power’.”
It described the sanctions as “hostile actions” and stated that Western countries are “pressing a sovereign country.”
“In this context, the EU leaders’ statement seems to be a complete mockery, a mockery of logic and common sense,” the ministry said.
It added that Belarus “can and will do everything possible to protect its citizens and business entities” and that these restrictions “will not produce the desired effect”.
Lukashenko and his allies have already faced a series of sanctions from Brussels and Washington because their violent handling of protests has caused tens of thousands of people to take to the streets for months.
Thousands were arrested, several died, and the main opposition figures either fled the country or ended up in jail.
Lukashenko’s main opponent in the vote was Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya), a political novice who replaced her husband in prison in the vote and quickly won Popularity.
A few days after the protest began, she was forced to go into exile to neighboring Lithuania.
The opposition believes that Qihanusskaya is the real winner of the election, and she has the support of several Western leaders.
However, so far, Lukashenko has escaped Western pressure with the support of key ally and creditor Russia.