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24 February 2022, 15:25

Lukashenko against involvement of ‘Western puppeteers' in Ukraine conflict resolution

MINSK, 24 February (BelTA) – ‘Western puppeteers' should not take part in the conflict settlement in Ukraine, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he answered a question of a BelTA reporter on 24 February.

“I am absolutely against the involvement of Western puppet masters [in today's Ukraine]. This should be a decision of the three Slavic states,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

“Of course, it's better to stop now. They should have heard what I said at the solemn meeting. I couldn't make it loud and clear then. The format of the event did not allow it, and I simply couldn't. Yet, I made it clear: stop fighting, especially with us. Why fight with us? We did everything for the Ukrainians, even to our own detriment. Well, you saw it with your own eyes. But they closed the railway, they closed the skies for us ...” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“Therefore, the best thing for Ukraine to do now is to come to its senses and take such a decision [to embark on constructive talks]. It will be in agreement with Russia's security demands,” the head of state said.

Nevertheless, the head of state believes that the Ukrainian leadership does not seem to be down to it. “Listen, were were signaling them all night long. I said: call him and ask him to call me back, and we will think how to handle it. Well, he should have reached out to the president of Russia and told him that Ukraine was ready for demilitarization (well, at least this), and was ready to sign this document and take some more steps. And there would have been no conflict,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He lamented that he called Putin, but he did not answer [reference to Volodymyr Zelensky's statement]. So call him 10 more times. What's the problem? He always said: okay, let's meet, let's talk but talk about what? I will not do this (implement the Minsk agreements) [the position of the Ukrainian leadership], I will not do that. Then what's there to talk about? That is why I say: draw up the agenda, expert decisions, as is the protocol. Then the presidents meet, put their signatures and the problem is off the table. Everybody understands that."

"Then, again, comes a promise about help from overseas. Well, let's see how they will help," the Belarusian leader added.

As BelTA reported, at the recent operational meeting with the military, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko named the terms of Russia's negotiations with Ukraine. "To prevent this [bloodshed in Ukraine] and stop the escalation, you need to sit down at the negotiating table, but Russia will never sit down with them at the negotiating table unless the issues to be discussed are agreed in advance. Russia has formalized them for NATO, and for America, and for Ukraine as well. Five or six issues. There are two or three issues for Ukraine. The first is the demilitarization of Ukraine, no NATO accession for Ukraine and the cessation of military operation against Donetsk and Luhansk. Perhaps there will be other issues," the president said.

But it is not enough just to discuss these issues. Specific decisions should be drafted in advance, the head of state emphasized. "Yes, they will be tougher for Ukraine. How can it be otherwise if you are suffering a defeat? Of course, the winner will dictate terms to you. But let's be realistic: of course, there will be terms, but they will be much better than the loss of Ukraine in the war," the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested holding such negotiations in Minsk: “We are Slavs, three Slavic nations. Let us sit down and decide our fate for the future. What is the basis of this? If I were Zelensky, I would use this opportunity. Putin stated (and I praised him for this during our conversation): “We are not invaders; we are not going to occupy Ukraine.” What else do they need? That is the basis for negotiations. He is not going to occupy. Why and who needs this? No one is going to impose their forces and governments there. That is the basis for negotiations. Let us use this basis to work out the agenda and solutions.”

The head of state is convinced that this is the only chance today to stop the escalation and avoid a full-scale war. “Perhaps, this is the chance to stop this conflict, to solve all the issues. Maybe they will hear me. We will not be mediators here, we do not need any mediation: this war is already here,” the president stressed.

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