Bow to Kyiv: Lukashenka blasts federalisation, recognises Turchynov’s legitimacy, ‘hangs’ oligarchs

Ukraine’s transformation into a federation would ruin the state, Aliaksandr Lukashenka said in an interview that he gave to Russia’s NTV television network last week. He also described Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov as a legitimate leader.

“According to their constitution, if there is no president, his duties are performed by the head of the Supreme Rada [Council],” Mr Lukashenka said. “I believe there is no president in their country. Of course, there should be a president under the constitution. This position is temporarily held by Turchynov. He is absolutely legitimate for me. And the Supreme Rada is absolutely legitimate as well.”

“Yanukovych should have dealt with protesters”

Aliaksandr Lukashenka noted that he had condemned President Viktor Yanukovych‘s ousting as an illegal coup d’etat at his meeting with Mr Turchynov in late March. “He did not contest or debate the opinion. He has his own opinion and I have my own. I think as a smart person he understands that what happened was not in line with the constitution,” he said.

Mr Lukashenka also attacked Victor Yanukovych for fleeing Ukraine instead of using his powers to end months-long anti-government protests.

“He should have reached agreement with them [the protesters] or dispersed them or bussed them away or given them money, but he should have dealt with the problem,” he said.

He ridiculed Mr Yanukovych’s claims that he had sought to avoid bloodshed. “Well, this is right, but you know this chant is for television appearances. He should have performed his functions in accordance with the constitution and laws,” he said. According to Mr Lukashenka, the toppled Ukrainian president had a corrupt entourage that ruined the economy and caused social tensions.

Federalisation will ruin Ukraine

“If you want to keep Ukraine a unified state, and I want Ukraine very much to be a unitary, monolithic, unified state, it should not be turned into a federation. That would lead to Ukraine’s split tomorrow, destroy the state,” he stressed

Governors as tsars

The Belarusian leader warned that provincial governors in a federal Ukraine would have too broad powers. “Those who need to use this would do so, and that would result in Ukraine’s disintegration,” he said. “That’s why I don’t even want to discuss this matter, I’m flatly against its transformation into a federation because I’m for unified Ukraine.”

In panic fear of NATO

Mr Lukashenka added that if Ukraine became a federation, it would prevent the deployment of NATO troops in the country, a scenario which he said Minsk and Moscow feared most. However, he urged the international community to help Ukraine remain a unitary state in an arrangement that would also discourage the deployment of NATO troops in Ukraine.

“Pushing Ukraine toward a federal state now is very dangerous. It’s dangerous to all: Belarus, Russia and the West. People will never agree to that, never,” he said.

Tycoons are evil personified

Alyaksandr Lukashenka accused Ukraine’s major business tycoons of tearing the country apart.

“It is unacceptable to me that they have destroyed a great country, divided the entire country between clans, there are five or six of them, they are led by Firtash, Akhmetov and others,” he said. “They have been allowed to do that. They have divided the country and now continue their policy.”

Mr Lukashenka suggested that Kyiv should take a tough stance on tycoons supporting separatist movements, and said that he could fix such a problem “within 24 hours.” They would either hang on a gibbet or do what is needed for unified Ukraine,” he stressed.

He also attacked President Viktor Yanukovych and his family and entourage for what he described as making successful business owners share their profits with them.

West, USA under fire

Aliaksandr Lukashenka criticized the West for its failure to provide real assistance to Ukraine after “destabilizing” the political situation in the country.

Mr Lukashenka said that the United States had made a major contribution to a popular uprising that swept President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February but was yet to deliver any tangible assistance to the country that has plunged into a severe economic crisis since. “First they gave field rations to the army and now they have promised $1 billion. You know the terms of a loan that the IMF [International Monetary Fund] has promised to Ukraine,” he said.

Mr Lukashenka warned Ukraine’s interim government that it would face grim consequences for dramatic prices hikes that followed Mr Yanukovych’s ousting. “They have raised gas prices for households by 70 or 50 percent, and households have no money to afford these prices. Apart from this, Russia has increased energy prices,” he said. “And they think: `a revolution has taken place, we are not to blame, it is their fault.` Yes, it`s their fault, but the people will blame everything on you, and the revolution will not be an excuse for anything.”

Lukashenka also played down the West’s sanctions against Russian government officials and businesspeople close to President Vladimir Putin.

“Yes, Americans will be putting pressure on Europe to get mired in these sanctions more and more, but Merkel and others are no fools and understand how much they are dependent on Russia today. They have an enormous high-technology real sector of the economy and it needs resources, and these resources are in the East,” Mr Lukashenka said.

Promised land?

More than 2,000 “refugees” want to move from Ukraine to Belarus, Aliaksandr Lukashenka said in the interview.

Mr Lukashenka said that he had already discussed the matter with the Belarusian ambassador in Kyiv.

“We are afraid that if events take an unfavorable turn, and the situation is far from being stable there, of course, some people may flood into Belarus. If they go here, we will have a very hard time,” Mr Lukashenka warned, noting that he meant mostly residents of Ukraine`s northern provinces.

He warned that the possible influx of refugees from Ukraine could bring crime to Belarus., following BelaPAN

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