President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko congratulated Ukraine on Independence Day. The Belarusian dictator wished Ukrainians "peaceful skies" and also "tolerance, courage, strength and success in restoring a decent life".
"I am convinced that today's contradictions will not be able to destroy the centuries-old foundation of sincere good-neighborly relations between the peoples of the two countries. Belarus will continue to advocate the preservation of harmony, the development of friendly mutually respectful contacts at all levels," Lukashenko’s press service quotes him as saying.
Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Mykhailo Podolyak, called Lukashenka's message cynical. "We will talk about the shades of the peaceful sky with this gentleman after Russia loses the war," Podolyak said on the talk show "Air", dedicated to the six months of the war. “It would be better for Lukashenka not to mention Ukraine at all. Because he is an accomplice to a war crime and has provided the territory and airfields of Belarus to strike Ukraine and kill Ukrainian citizens."
The Ukrainian authorities and other countries consider Belarus Russia’s accomplice in the war. Lukashenko openly expressed support for Russia and justified the aggression saying that Kyiv was allegedly preparing to attack Belarus and Russia. He claimed that before the start of the war, the West deployed four divisions on the Belarusian border and Tochka-U missiles were aimed at Russia and Belarus.
On August 21, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported that Russian air defense systems were moving in the Volyn and Polesia regions to the territory of Belarus. "The threat of missile and air strikes by the enemy from the territory and airspace of this country continues to persist," the report said.
On August 17, the speaker of the Ukrainian Air Forces command, Colonel Yuri Ignat, said that Russia could "congratulate" Ukraine on Independence Day with missile fire from Belarus. According to him, intelligence data and open sources suggest that Russia is building up its forces in the Belarusian territory. "Russia used the territory of Belarus from the first days of full-scale aggression and carried out strikes from there. Therefore, we must certainly prepare. We have various information from the intelligence, and other services have some information about these movements. We will soon have a big holiday, the Independence Day. The enemy always uses such dates for "congratulations". We must be ready for this, " Ignat said.