Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya urges Belarusian soldiers not to attack Ukraine
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Thursday urged Belarusian forces not to join in Russia's invasion of Ukraine if asked to do so and hailed volunteers fighting alongside Ukrainians.
"Our Belarusian soldiers understand that Ukrainians are our brothers and sisters and we don't want even to fight against them," Tikhanovskaya said at a meeting with the Belarusian community in Warsaw.
Belarus is ruled with an iron fist by President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who has become increasingly dependent on Moscow as he crushes any opposition.
Belarus has given Moscow a key strategic advantage by allowing Russian troops to attack Ukraine from its territory but has so far not joined in the conflict.
Belarusian soldiers "don't have to share responsibility with Lukashenko's regime for his actions," she said.
Tikhanovskaya also praised the Belarusian pro-democracy volunteers joining in the conflict.