Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko © Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday said it’s important for the West to “drown Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood in blood.”

In a state-of-the-nation speech, he said Ukraine is a subject of a behind-the-scenes tradeoff, which is pushed into a conflict and being prepared for an aggression.

“The building up of tensions in the south causes the greatest alarm,” he said. “Ukraine is becoming a subject of a behind-the-scenes tradeoff.”

“The Ukrainians are being pushed into the flames of a conflict, they are being broken mentally, purposefully prepared for an aggression while hostile feelings to brotherly peoples, including Belarusians, are being shaped up,” the president said. “It’s important for the West to drown the Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood, our Slavic brotherhood in blood.”

Lukashenko said he thought Western countries will persist in disrupting the situation in former Soviet countries to weaken Russia.

“The situation in Kazakhstan showed that not only the Slavic brotherhood, but also the Central Asian one has become a target,” he said in a state-of-the-nation speech. “It’s obvious that the West, with the aim of weakening Russia, will get on with the tactic of disturbing the post-Soviet space.”

“Must we, given the situation, react and build up our defense capabilities?” he went on to say. “The answer is obvious: Alas, if you want peace, prepare for war.”

There has been a flurry of statements in the West and Kiev lately that Russia could invade Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they were unsubstantiated escalation and that Russia doesn’t threaten anyone. At the same time, he didn’t rule out provocations to corroborate these Western statements and warned that the use of force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine will have serious consequences.

Mass riots erupted in Kazakhstan in early January, with attacks on the police and the military. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev described the events as an attempted coup. The situation was stabilized by January 7 while the emergency situation lasted in some regions until January 19. As a result of the events, 225 people were killed and more than 4,500 injured.