Belarus will not give up its independence and sovereignty, Aliaksandr Lukašenka said Thursday, speaking to the old and newly elected members of the National Assembly.

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“We`ve never wanted and are not going to become part of any other country, even brotherly Russia,” the Belarusian leader said.

“Remember one thing: I’m not a newcomer who has been in office for three, four or five years. I`ve had enough of all that. And I don’t want to destroy all that you and I have done, together with the people. We didn’t create our sovereign and independent state to put it into a box with a cross on top and throw it away or hand it over to someone. This will never happen as long as I’m here. This is our country. We are sovereign and independent. We should be proud of this.”

“If no one claims our country, if no one seeks to conquer it, then why should we give up these assets, sovereignty and independence, willfully?” Mr. Lukašenka said. “We’ve had enough of yoke, poverty and misery.”

“We shouldn’t give even the slightest reason for anyone to want to put us on our knees. This is the wisdom of politicians and the policy we are pursuing,” he said.