Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced Western silence on the “coup d’etat attempt in Belarus.” He stated this during his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday, 21 April.
Putin stressed that Russia intends to defend its own interests within the framework of international law, as other countries do.
“In the world, unfortunately, it seems that everyone is used to the practice of politically motivated, illegal sanctions in the economy. These are rough attempts to impose their own will on others by force. Today, this practice is growing into something much more dangerous. I mean the recently known direct attempt to organize a coup d’etat in Belarus and the assassination of the president of this country,” he said.
At the same time, it is characteristic, Putin continued, that even such flagrant actions do not find condemnation of the so-called collective West.
“Nobody seems to notice this. Everyone pretends that nothing is happening at all. You can think whatever you want about Ukrainian President Yanukovych, who was also almost killed and removed from power in an armed coup, or Maduro in Venezuela … You can have any point of view regarding the policy of Belarusian President Lukashenko. But the practice of organizing a coup d’etat, plans for political assassinations, including those of high-ranking officials, are too much! All lines have been crossed!”
In fact, it was a massive cyberattack, Putin said. “And all those confessions of the detained conspirators, that they planned to block Minsk, including the city infrastructure, a complete shutdown of the capital’s energy system. […] What would have happened if the coup d’etat attempt had been actually undertaken? How many people would have suffered? What would have happened to Belarus if such a coup took place, no one cares, as no one thought about Ukraine when the coup was carried out in this country.”
At the same time, Vladimir Putin emphasized the peacefulness of the Russian authorities, despite the unfriendly actions against it.
“In some countries, a nasty custom has been introduced: for any reason, and most often for no reason at all, to criticize Russia. In the sports sphere. In this regard, we behave in an extremely restrained manner, I will say directly without irony, modestly, we often do not respond at all not only to unfriendly actions but also to outright rudeness,” he said.
The Russian President assured that he did not want to burn the bridges and wants to have friendly relations with the world community
“But if some interpret our good intentions as indifference or weakness and intend to burn or blow up bridges himself, they should know: Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, rapid and harsh. The organizers of any provocations that threaten the fundamental interests of our security will regret their deeds like never before!”
On Saturday, 17 April, Alexander Lukashenko said that political analyst Alexander Feduta and lawyer Yury Zenkovich were involved in plotting the assassination attempt on him and his sons. “Then we found out about the involvement of foreign intelligence services. Most likely, the CIA, the FBI, I do not know which of the Americans exactly. We learned about their plans to come to Minsk and to organize an assassination against the president and his children,” said Lukashenko.
Later that day, the state-run ONT TV channel aired a report with a commentary by the KGB Chairperson Ivan Tertel that the special services “managed to prevent attempts of an armed coup in Belarus and elimination of government officials”. The official said that Alexander Feduta, Yuri Zenkovich and Grigory Kostusev were members of the criminal group. The ONT reported that “the conspirators plotted the coup for the summer of this year, June or July”.
The Federal Security Service (FSS) of Russia confirmed the information of the KGB of Belarus and stated that it had participated in the operation to detain Feduta and Zenkovich in Moscow. According to the agency, they arrived in the city after consultations in the U.S. and Poland to meet with “opposition-minded generals of the Belarusian Armed Forces.” At the same time, according to the FSS, seizing power by force in Belarus was planned for 9 May.
“Any suggestion that the U.S. government was behind this or was involved in the attempted assassination of Lukashenko is completely false,” said the U.S. State Department representative.