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26 Sep 2019

Belarus president sees long-term reasons behind fracture in Ukraine-Russia relations

Belarus president sees long-term reasons behind fracture in Ukraine-Russia relations

MINSK, 26 September (BelTA) – A considerable fracture in Ukraine-Russia relations appeared back when Viktor Yanukovych was the president of Ukraine. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during the meeting with representatives of Ukrainian mass media on 26 September, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “He was not an anti-Ukrainian person. He was indecisive at times, had some other issues. A fracture in relations between Ukraine and Russia appeared in Yanukovych’s time when the price for natural gas soared. Up to $220 if I am not mistaken. He and I had a talk then. He was very offended by Russia’s move. He was wondering why Russia had done it. It was not the first crack in relations but it was significant. His umbrage was very serious. It may have prompted his decision to seek rapid rapprochement with the West, with the European Union, the decision to sign the relevant agreements. They backed away later and started fooling around. And the situation was exploited.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also shared his personal impressions from talking to Viktor Yanukovych. According to the Belarusian leader, he and Viktor Yanukovych have talked over the phone several times since the ex-president left Ukraine, primarily about personal matters.

“We were on good terms but I understood that sometimes he may step away from the party line (just like it happened in the Chernobyl days situation). Why did it have to be done? It could have poisoned reasons of the two countries for decades. But I let it pass,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the Belarusian head of state, they rather sincerely discussed various matters at times when Viktor Yanukovych was the president of Ukraine. “If you have to know, he was never pro-Russian. He was not a traitor to Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “He was never an anti-Ukrainian person but he has committed a great deal of mistakes, which resulted in his losing power through unconstitutional actions.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Ukraine meant the world for Viktor Yanukovych. He had never divided the country into eastern parts and western parts although he had significant support in the east. At the same time the level of corruption, for instance, was intolerable for people. “He committed a number of mistakes, which are incompatible with the presidency,” the Belarusian leader stated.

On the whole, Aleksandr Lukashenko described Viktor Yanukovych as a very good man, who trusted people around him too much, failing to check and control them at times. “He did that. A president cannot afford to do it. You have to know what is going on around you. You must not have an inner circle. Your kids and you should never do business. Your pockets should not overflow with money because money weighs heavily on you and you start to forget you are the head of state. It is unacceptable, particularly in Slavonic countries like ours,” the head of state concluded.

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