Alexander Lukashenko, commenting on the sabotage with the Russian A-50 aircraft at the airfield in Machulishchi, called the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky a “nit”. He stated this during the presentation of state awards.
During his speech, he blamed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for what happened at the air base, since, according to Lukashenka, “such operations are not carried out without the consent of the country’s leader.”
President Zelensky is just a nit. Just nit! <...> Nits because he runs around Belarus, sends people to us and asks, as I said: “Let’s conclude a non-aggression pact, let’s agree, we don’t have any problems.” To which I said: “We are not going to attack.” <…> You have heard all these statements of mine. And at this time … Well, the challenge is thrown.
At the same time, Lukashenka stressed that Belarus does not intend to participate in the war: “If you think that by throwing this challenge you will drag us into the war tomorrow, which is already going on all over Europe today, you are mistaken.”
In his speech, he also threatened “the most brutal cleansing” of the opposition-minded residents of Belarus who remain in the country or have left it.
On February 26, local residents reported the sounds of explosions near the air base in Machulishchi near Minsk. Belarusian activists from BYPOL said they sabotaged the airfield and dropped explosive devices from drones on a Russian A-50 aircraft that was there. BYPOL reported that those involved in the explosions went abroad, and the plane was damaged and “will no longer be able to fly.”
According to Zerkalo, a Russian reconnaissance aircraft based in Machulishchi eventually flew to Taganrog for repairs. Monitoring group “Belarusian Gayun” informedthat the A-50 left the airspace of Belarus, going to Russia for repairs on March 2.
On March 7, Alyaksandr Lukashenka confirmed that a sabotage had taken place in Machulishchi, and he blamed the SBU and the CIA for preparing it. According to him, as a result of the incident, the Russian A-50 did not receive significant damage, but it was sent to Russia for repairs. In total, more than 20 people were detained in the sabotage case, Lukashenka claims.