The leaders of Belarus and Ukraine turn out to regularly hold unofficial meetings: it is Aliaksandr Lukashenka who disclosed the information to Ukrainian journalists.
‘Those who think that this is our first meeting or that we do not negotiate are grossly mistaken.<…> Viktar Fyodorovich [Yanukovych] and I practise meeting without fuss and discussing our problems,’ the Ukrainian News quoted the Belarusian President as saying.
‘Lousiness’ goes west
But two years ago fuss did occur: offended Lukashenka called his Ukrainian counterpart ‘lousy’. The Belarusian leader was not invited to formal events in commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster; otherwise, European politicians would have been outraged.
Now Lukashenka ‘would like Ukraine to be ours’. He urged the Ukrainian authorities to join the Common Economic Area and the Eurasian Union, offered his help in the field of agricultural modernization and asked for Ukraine’s assistance in training personnel for the nuclear power station in Astravets.
According to Ukrainian political analyst Olga Popovich, taking into account psychological сharacteristics of the politicians one cannot state that all the conflicts have sunk into oblivion. But at the moment Ukraine insists on completing the process of boundary demarcation so that it could maintain a visa-free regime with the EU. In its turn, Belarus also has its interest in Kyiv.
‘Ukraine represents a huge market for Belarusian exporters. It is one of the leading directions in the foreign policy, and the loss or contraction of the market would be a heavy blow for Belarus,’ the expert said. It is true particularly now when foreign debt service and packed warehouses of state-owned enterprizes pose a real threat of another devaluation of the Belarusian rubel.