VITEBSK, 15 July (BelTA) – NATO's eastward expansion scattered the Slavs across different sides of the barricades, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the opening ceremony of the 31st edition of the International Arts Festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk on 14 July, BelTA has learned.
According to the head of state, when the festival was founded in the 1990s, no one could even think that the single Slavic world which strength lies in its thousand-year history would be put to the test politically and culturally.
“We could not even imagine that a friendly nation of Yugoslavia would disappear from the political map, the post-Soviet space would plunge into a series of armed conflicts, and NATO, a military bloc, would expand to the east scattering the Slavs across different sides of the barricades,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
According to the president, the most crushing blow was dealt eight years ago right at the very heart of the Slavic world - the Belarusian-Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood.
“And no matter how history is being twisted today, we lost Ukraine long before the start of the special operation,” the head of state noted. “It was when its politicians themselves abandoned their Slavic identity, when we struggled to bring Ukrainians to perform on this stage, even those who had been living in other countries for a long time. Yet, no matter what it cost us, the Ukrainian language was spoken at the opening of the Slavianski Bazaar festival. And it will be spoken, including today. Moreover: it will always be spoken here!” he said.