Granting an interview to Ukrainian media workers, Alyaksandr Lukashenka confirmed his readiness to send Belarusian peacekeepers to Donbas, and even take control of a part of the Ukrainian-Russian border ‘if the both sides agreed’.
“If you want us to close the-400 kilometre stretch of the Ukraine-Russia border which is currently not being controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, we will close it. Although getting involved in the conflict is fraught with a big challenge, but we are ready to send in peacekeepers, border guards, troops, as you wish, but we are ready to close this section of the border,” he said.
Belarus is not seeking fame or the reputation of a peacemaker or mediator, Lukashenka stressed.
“What is important is that you and everyone involved in the conflict should want this. Let me be frank: it is important that we, you, and Russia should want this, if we speak about the Slavic unity,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.
Notably, the Kremlin has immediately responded to the statement. According to Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, two sides of the conflict – Kyiv and the self-proclaimed republics – should be asked about the issue of Belarusian peacekeepers.
Lukashenka has repeatedly offered Belarus’ assistance to deconflict the situation in Donbas. In October 2018, when making a speech at the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting in Minsk, he stressed that Belarus was ready to take responsibility for ensuring peace in eastern regions of Ukraine and exerting control over the Russian-Ukrainian border.
According to him, if Belarus were entrusted with a role in the conflict settlement in Ukraine, it would do everything necessary without taking anyone’s side. However, it is highly unlikely that the Ukrainian side will give its consent to the presence of Belarusian peacekeepers in Donbas due to the country’s close ties to Russia.