Belarusian authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka claims he is doing everything he can to help stop Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has “dragged on” longer than he thought it would.

Speaking to the Associated Press in an interview published on May 5, Lukashenka defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Kyiv had been “provoking” Moscow.

Though he didn’t give details on how Ukraine provoked Russia, prior to the military operation, which Minsk has aided by allowing Belarusian territory to be used to stage the attack, Lukashenka alleged that he had information showing Ukraine planned to attack Belarus.

Lukashenka has been shunned by the international community since he claimed victory in a presidential election in August 2020 that the opposition says was rigged. He has met mass protests afterward with brutal force and harsh tactics to silence any dissent in the country, which he has ruled since 1994.

The 67-year-old ruler told AP that he was doing “everything” to stop the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“But I am not immersed in this problem enough to say whether it goes according to plan, like the Russians say, or like I feel it. I want to stress one more time, I feel like this operation has dragged on,” Lukashenka said during the nearly 90-minute interview at the Independence Palace in Minsk.

Lukashenka also said it would be “unacceptable” to use nuclear weapons in the conflict, but he couldn’t say if Russia has such plans.

“Whether or not Russia is capable of that — is a question you need to ask the Russian leadership,” he said of the possible use of nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials have repeatedly made veiled references to the country’s nuclear arsenal since Putin launched an all-out military invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear arsenal on high alert days after the unprovoked invasion began, with the Kremlin citing “Western countries…taking unfriendly actions” through economic sanctions and “aggressive statements against our country.”