We will make Mariupol a holiday resort, says pro-Russian leader

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a key ally of Moscow, has accused the West of supporting Nazi ideas and of being “at war with Russia” in Ukraine.

“Followers of the Nazis are obsessed with the idea of revenge, but they are not ready to fight openly against the heirs of the Soviet people,” Mr Lukashenko said at a speech on Victory Day, an annual holiday in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries to mark the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

“That’s why they are flooding Ukraine with weapons, waging war on memorials, symbols and veterans,” he said.

Mr Lukashenko accused “Western elites” of elevating “Nazism to the rank of state ideology”.

“It’s no secret that the whole Western world is at war with Russia in Ukraine,” said 67-year-old, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994.

He also slammed Western sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus since the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine.

“Nobody abroad cares that the Belarusian army is not involved in the fighting,” he said, adding that these “attempt to suffocate” Belarus “will only make it stronger”.

“Belarusians are not aggressors, but remaining an ally and a strategic partner of our fraternal Russia, we will support it in every possible way,” Mr Lukashenko said.