Putin wants to seize Belarus with or without Lukashenka – Saakashvili

A part of Russian troops may stay in the territory of Belarus after the joint war game Zapad-2017, Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili believes.

According to him, the Russian military may be used to attack Ukraine and invade Belarus.

At a recent meeting with Ukrainians in Warsaw, the ex-President of Georgia and former governor Odessa region explained why he was believed to be Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s advocate in Europe, Radio Racyja reports.

“I have always been advocating for Belarus. I think its independence is the main value. If Belarus is not an independent state, there is nothing to speak of. And the threat has not disappeared. Of course, I am for freedom of the Belarusian nation, I am sure there is no other option for the country but a democratic future, because the Belarusians is one of the most advanced nations in the world. But on the other hand, one should fight for independence, protect their own independence and provide for all contingencies,” Saakashvili said.

“In my opinion, at the moment Putin wants to seize Belarus – with or without Lukashenka. And we should not give him this opportunity,” he added.

“I have not been in Georgia for long, Georgia is in jeopardy, but I think that Belarus is in a greater danger danger. And Putin is getting ready for an armed invasion of Belarus in any form. Zapad-2017 is only a prelude to military action. I do not think something will happen during the exercise, but it may happen the future,” Saakashvili told Belsat TV.

The Zapad (West-2017) war game is scheduled for September, 14-20. It will be the final stage of the joint training of the armed forces of the two countries this year.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and a number of European politicians believe that the ‘West-2017’ demonstrates the preparation of Belarus and Russia to the war with the West. In mid April, Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, stressed that the joint military exercise might become the preparation for an assault against Ukraine in September.