MINSK, 1 March (BelTA) – Belarus is a good place for resolving the conflict in Ukraine. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he met with representatives of the general public and expert community, Belarusian and foreign mass media on 1 March, BelTA has learned.
A representative of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper asked about Crimea's joining Russia from the point of view of Belarus-Russia cooperation. Alexander Lukashenko said: “Such topics did not arise [in our conversations with the Russian leadership]. I cannot even tell you right now how we discussed these problems – Crimea, Donbass.”
“Today Belarus is a good place for resolving this conflict,” the head of state pointed out.
“My attitude to Ukraine is that it is our Slavonic country. It is in trouble. We need to resolve this problem. I tell every Russian leader: don't flatter yourself that you are big and will win. If Americans deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Ukraine, you will be in trouble. This is why this problem has to be resolved,” Alexander Lukashenko is convinced.
Alexander Lukashenko went on saying that there are a lot of mixed marriages between Belarusians, Russians, and Ukrainians. There are many relatives in different countries. There are also business ties to consider. “The conflict has to end due to many reasons. Why don't you want to use Belarus for it? If two brothers are fighting, what is the third one supposed to do? Certainly, he should try to make peace between them, as much as it is possible,” stated the head of state. “My policy is that I should somehow contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Feel free to use Belarus in a way to make peace.”
“I believe it is time for us to grow wise. We are not stupid people – Slavs: Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians. But we sometimes do stupid things and pick on each other for no reason at all,” the president remarked.
Speaking about Crimea, Alexander Lukashenko reminded that he signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994. “Nuclear weapons were to be removed. Russia, USA, and UK provided security assurances to us – Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Assurances regarding the inviolability of borders. So in my presence Crimea was officially recognized as part of Ukraine. Nobody was willing to argue the fact but [the then Ukrainian President Leonid] Kuchma raised the point and the matter was included [into the memorandum]. And I signed this document,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“What will change if I declare right now on air that Crimea is Russian? What will change? Nothing. There will be a bit of noise. The fact will be mentioned in evening news in Russia and will be forgotten in the morning,” remarked the head of state.
“Take a look at the latest events in Venezuela,” Alexander Lukashenko mentioned as an example. “The USA presented totally absurd claims to Venezuelan authorities. They've even picked out the new president. Is it normal? The presidential election took place a short while ago. I know that Maduro organized an honest election. Yes, there are problems. Maybe Americans cannot be blamed for everything but they bear responsibility. And Maduro says his country is in this situation thanks to America. To a large extent yes, but Venezuelans themselves are the reason, too. But Americans committed a lot of errors with their pushy approach to Venezuelan affairs. A recent opinion poll in Venezuela indicates that 92% of the nation believes that Americans are to blame and Americans want to conquer the country.”
Alexander Lukashenko also mentioned the matter of recognizing the independence of Abkhazia. He said he had been ready to sign the relevant presidential decree. But then the head of NATO warned him that Belarus would be disconnected from the banking system and would be completely isolated. Then President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said there were a lot of economic considerations in the situation, it was not his area of expertise, it was Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin's. “I got angry then,” Alexander Lukashenko recalled. “I am a head of state and you are, too. You ask a question and I answer it. If you cannot handle a problem, there is no sense talking to you.”
According to the Belarusian leader, a former prime minister of Georgia asked him for assistance with improving relations with Russia. “I happened to become a mediator in this process. Certainly, I informed Russian leadership, primarily the president, about it. Little changes started happening after that,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “And I thought it is better to have even a small mediator, Russia may not need one, but nevertheless, there is some connection between opposite poles. But why do we have to unite all the time and speak against someone?”