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Lukashenko explains his appearance with assault rifle in front of Palace of Independence


MINSK, 9 September (BelTA) – In a recent interview with Russian mass media Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko explained why he had carried an assault rifle in front of the Palace of Independence, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that prior to those events various messages started appearing in the Internet and Telegram channels. The messages claimed that Aleksandr Lukashenko was in Rostov, that he had fled the country, that he was a coward, and so on. “What would you have done in my place?” he asked the interviewers.

“I'd have shown them that I was still here,” one of the Russian reporters noted.

“I showed them that I am still here, that I am not a coward, that I am not afraid,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

According to the president, when the protesters decided to march on the Palace of Independence on a Sunday, he decided he should definitely remain in place. “I had a situation room in the Palace of Independence: I can see everything that happens in Minsk, from all the CCTV cameras. We have many situation rooms like that, primarily in law enforcement and security agencies. And in the office of the president as the commander-in-chief. Back then it was the first time the protesters rushed towards the Palace of Independence. We'd anticipated it and the Palace of Independence was properly defended. But when they started moving, I decided I should take a look at what was going on,” he said.

However, most of the protesters had gone away before the president landed in his helicopter. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the organizers of the protests had recalled the people when they learned the president was about to arrive.

“So, I demonstrated that my children are here, my country is here, and I will protect it no matter the cost. Although the press secretary was running behind me. She didn't want me to go out: ‘What if there is a sniper or something else?' But no, I had to go outside regardless of whether the crowd dispersed or not and thank the guys [law enforcement officers], who made up the cordon and behaved properly. But the most important thing is that I am no coward, I am not afraid. I hadn't fled the country and had no intention of fleeing, and my kids would not flee either,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

Asked to clarify, the head of state added that his appearance back then sent a message to domestic forces and external ones. “If there was no external [influence], we would have dealt with these problems a long time ago,” he said.

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