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MOSCOW (AFP) – Belarus’s powerful leader and staunch Kremlin ally Alexander Lukashenko appeared on state television on Wednesday, chopping wood and telling viewers not to let Europe “freeze to death” this winter. reassured me.

The ironic broadcast comes at a time when European leaders are struggling to procure alternative energy sources as supplies from Russia were cut after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The cheery-sounding authoritarian appears in the video in a tracksuit and bodywarmers, lowering a large ax onto a block from a large pile of previously chopped wood.

“We will not freeze Europe to death,” Lukashenko jokes in the video.

“We help them and one day they will help us.”

Belarus has been subject to a series of sanctions by the West, both for its support for Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and for its ferocious crackdown after the 2020 elections.

“Europe can’t afford to be picky these days. What matters is that they stay warm,” the mustachioed leader, often called “Europe’s last dictator,” says in a video.

Mr. Lukashenko is an eccentric leader who regularly makes unusual media appearances, such as harvesting crops with a young woman or playing hockey.

During a historic protest against his rule in 2020, he circled protesters in a helicopter, brandished an AK-47 and called demonstrators “rat.” Belarusian mogul chops wood for ‘frozen to death’ Europeans

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