Ukraine-Belarus relations: In word and deed (video)

Crimea is de facto Russian, says Aliaksandr Lukashenka and at the same time, recognises the new Ukrainian authorities. On Saturday the Belarusian leader had a meeting with Oleksandr Turchinov, acting President of Ukraine in his residence in the agro-town of Liaskavichy in the Prypiats national park, not far from the Belarus-Ukraine border. Will the border area turn into the point of inegration, not a battle line?

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‘We should have met earlier to exchange our views on the situation.’

Lukashenka and Turchinov did hold meetings earlier but it is the first time when Mr Turchinov has visited Belarus as President. He confessed that he aimed at gaining the Belarusian people’s support.


‘Ukraine and Belarus are not only neighbours, they are brotherly nations who have been living, working and fighting shoulder to shoulder for hundreds of years.’

At that, Minsk manages only to pay lip service to Kyiv. On Lukashenka’s invitation the Kremlin has already deployed 6 fighter jets and military cargo aircraft in Belarus, 24 jets are expected to come soon. The Belarusian representative has voted against the UN resolution on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

His main ally’s rhetoric doesn’t match the deeds either. Pulling Russian troops to the Ukrainian border, Vladimir Putin was trying to persuade Barack Obama that Russia did not pose any threat to the world. Russia’s Foreign Minister echoed:


‘We have absolutely no intention and no interest in crossing the Ukrainian border’

Meanwhile, Minsk is seeking its own benefit. Ukraine still remains one of the main partners, the trade balance being stably positive. Last year it reached $4.2 bn. Our country’s sales volume with Ukraine was second to that wih Russia. But in early 2014 Belarus’s exports to Ukraine has decreased by 18.8%.


‘The Russian integration has lost Ukraine. This means that we shouldn’t count on economic growth which could have been gained due to larger markets (including Ukraine) in the frames of the Eurasian integration’

That’s why it’s not surprising that during the talks Lukashenka has paid special attention to the economic cooperation with Ukraine. By the way, this meeting in Liaskavichy has had an undesirable effect for the Kremlin’s propaganda.

VALER KARBALEVICH, political analyst:

‘Due to Russian TV channels, Russian and Belarusian viewers are safe in the knowledge that fascists have won power in Ukraine. And now everyone could see that Mr Lukashenka was meeting with the leader of those ‘fascists’ and telling him some diplomatic pleasantries.’

And that’s why Lukashenka still stands the chance of preserving this real Belarusian-Ukrainian brotherhood – even by paying lip-service.

Valer Ruselik, In Focus

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