(Moscow) Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, on Friday called for a “truce” in Ukraine and talks “without preconditions” between Moscow and Kyiv.

“We have to stop now, before the escalation begins. I take the risk of suggesting a cessation of hostilities,” Lukashenko, in power since 1994, said in an address to the nation.

“It is possible — and must — to settle all territorial, reconstruction, security and other issues at the negotiating table without preconditions,” he added.

Lukashenko, who holds the West and Ukraine responsible for the conflict, also said he fears a “nuclear” war because of Western support for Kyiv, while Vladimir Putin earlier announced his intention to deploy nuclear weapons ” tactics” in Belarus.

“Because of the United States and its satellites, an all-out war has been unleashed” in Ukraine, he said, believing that from then on, “nuclear fires are lurking on the horizon”.

Stressing that the “military-industrial complex is running at full speed in Russia” and that Ukraine was “flooded with Western weapons”, Mr. Lukashenko worried about an upcoming “escalation” which will lead to many deaths.

Belarus is not a direct party to the conflict in Ukraine, but it loaned its territory to the Russian military for its offensive on the Ukrainian capital last year and to carry out strikes, according to Kyiv.

Moscow and Minsk also conducted joint exercises and created a military grouping consisting of soldiers from both countries.

President Putin announced last weekend his intention to deploy “tactical” nuclear weapons to Belarus, an announcement that has caused concern in Ukraine and the West.

Russia and Ukraine had held talks in 2022, but these fizzled out in the face of intransigence on both sides. Subsequent attempts at mediation yielded no results.

For its part, Kyiv believes that the prerequisite for peace is the withdrawal of Russian forces from its territory, without exception.