In response to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s message of congratulations on Ukraine’s Independence Day, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that it hoped the ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin would be reunited with two leaders who were executed by their own people.
“Yesterday, on our Independence Day, the dictator Lukashenko congratulated Ukraine and wished us a peaceful sky… as a ‘gift’ missiles were again fired from Belarus to Ukraine,” the ministry tweeted Thursday. “We wish Lukashenko the same peaceful sky… and reunification with his good friends Hussein & Gaddafi.”
The tweet referenced Saddam Hussein, the former president of Iraq who was executed in 2006 after facing trial before an Iraqi Special Tribunal, and former authoritarian Libyan leader Muammar el-Gaddafi, who was executed during an uprising in 2011.
While many countries have vehemently condemned Russia’s months-long attack on Ukraine, Lukashenko is one of the few leaders that has continued to stand by Putin. Lukashenko has allowed Russia to place troops within and launch airstrikes from his territory while refraining from sending Belarusian troops into Ukraine to aid Putin’s army.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials said that Russia carried out attacks across the country on its Independence Day, which fell on Wednesday and was the six-month mark of the war. Newsweek contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry for confirmation on the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s allegation that missiles were launched into Ukraine from Belarus on Wednesday.
Before the holiday, which was the 31st anniversary of when Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union, Zelensky warned that Russia could attempt to do “something particularly ugly, something particularly vicious” on Independence Day.
“One of the key tasks of the enemy is to humiliate us, Ukrainians, to devalue our capabilities, our heroes, to spread despair, fear, to spread conflicts….Therefore, it is important never, for a single moment, to give in to this enemy pressure, not to wind oneself up, not to show weakness,” he said.
According to a release on Belarus’ presidential website, Lukashenko sent a message of greetings to Ukraine on Wednesday to commemorate the date.
“I am convinced that today’s contradictions will not be able to destroy the centuries-old sincere good-neighborly relations between the peoples of the two countries,” the message read. “Belarus will continue to stand up for the preservation of concord, development of friendly and mutually respectful contacts at all levels.”
The release added that Lukashenko “wished Ukrainians peaceful skies, tolerance, courage, strength and success in restoring a decent life.”
Newsweek reached out to Belarus’ Foreign Ministry and Ukraine’s Defense Ministry for comment.