President Aliaksandr Lukashenka has spoken to Euronews’ Kyiv bureau chief Sergio Cantone in an exclusive interview in Minsk about his role as a potential mediator and his vision of the conflict in Ukraine.
“Would you be ready to recognise the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic?
“No, no we maintain an absolutely different position: we would not want the disintegration of the Ukrainian state. Here, many are saying that Crimea’s integration with Ukraine was not correct, that it was indigenously a Russian territory and so on… this is the wrong approach.”
“Are you sure that you are an honest broker in this conflict? Because I have the impression that you are just blaming the Ukrainian side and not at all the pro-Russian insurgencies in southeastern Ukraine. And you did not mention the project of Novorossya, which is still an element of instability in Ukraine.”
“Ukraine has become a theatre of military action and a theatre of dispute between the big geopolitical forces, as I’ve said it is not only the West; it is also the East, unfortunately.
“As for Russia, I think that both the Russians and the West made many mistakes, but initially the bigger responsibility was on the West. It was not Russia that escalated the conflict in Maidan Square, not Russia which acted there. But certain officials – and the whole world knows that and we know that because we were nearby – certain officials of the Western states acted openly to instigate confrontation by the participants of Maidan.
“From the very beginning I declared that I did not recognise this project “Novorossiya”. I support the unity and integrity of the Ukrainian state. There shouldn’t be any frozen conflicts and any zones like Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh are always fraught with the danger of exploding. I do not want that as a person, and as a President of Belarus, as we are situated very close to Ukraine.”