- Some Western leaders have questioned Putin’s mental state since Russia invaded Ukraine last month.
- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko defended his close ally, saying Putin is “absolutely fit.”
- “As they say here – he’ll catch a cold at all our funerals,” Lukashenko said.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko praised his close ally Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview on Saturday, as many leaders in the West question whether Putin miscalculated the invasion of Ukraine.
“The West, and you, should get this stupidity, this fiction out of your heads,” Lukashenko said in an interview with TBS, a Japanese television channel, Reuters reported.
“Putin is absolutely fit, he’s in better shape than ever … This is a completely sane, healthy person, physically healthy – he’s an athlete,” he continued, adding: “As they say here – he’ll catch a cold at all our funerals.”
US officials have raised questions over Putin’s mental state since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Putin may be “irrational” and that he appeared to be thinking “illogically.” French President Emmanuel Macron has said of Putin: “I think this man is losing his sense of reality, to say it politely.”
But Lukashenko strongly rejected those assessments and said he is very close to the Russian president.
“He and I haven’t only met as heads of state, we’re on friendly terms,” Lukashenko said during the interview. “I’m absolutely privy to all his details, as far as possible, both state and personal.”
Belarus, a former Soviet Republic, is a close ally of Russia. Lukashenko also echoed a Putin talking point during the interview, calling the dissolution of the Soviet Union a “tragedy.”
“While the USSR existed, the world was multipolar and one pole balanced the other,” he said, according to Reuters. “Now the reason for what’s happening in the world is unipolarity – the monopolization of our planet by the United States of America.”
The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would suspend normal trade relations with Belarus and Russia. It still must pass in the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.