Alexander Lukashenko said “nobody needs these Baltic states” in reference to the upcoming Belarusian and Russian military drills, which NATO and Lithuanian officials previously said were aimed at imitating offensive maneuvers.
"We are not going to attack anyone. We do not need that. Yet, they are still making a fuss about it,” Lukashenko was quoted by the Belarusian state news agency BelTa.
“They say they are very concerned that we will go nearly as far as cutting off the Baltic states, that, you know, we will go through the Suwalki Gap to Kaliningrad and cut off the Baltic states,” he added. “Nobody needs these Baltic states. Belarus has its own demographic issues, let alone Russia.”
The military drills, Zapad 2021, will see thousands of troops take part in exercises primarily across western Russia and Belarus.
Previously, Baltic and NATO officials said the drills were aimed at practicing offensive operations in the region.