Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says that the conflict in eastern Ukraine developing since 2014 is a conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“And do not say after me that this is not a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. And, do not ignore the leaders of the LPR and the DPR – the unrecognized, <…> they also cannot be ignored,” he said at the Minsk Dialogue Forum on Tuesday, according to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency.
“The key thing is that the main conflict sides, Ukraine and Russia, should start a consideration of this conflict and make decisions.”
The Belarusian leader added that the conflict in eastern Ukraine cannot be solved without the participation of the US in negotiations. Washington, according to Lukashenko, is deep inside diplomatic and economic processes in Ukraine.
“You know how [deep] the United States is involved not only in the questions of Crimea, the Donbass, the integrity of Ukraine, but also in general – both political and economic processes. And the Americans no longer reject it,” Lukashenko said.
“It won’t be possible to resolve the conflict without the participation of the United States.”
Lukashenko also drew attention to the danger of confrontation between the ‘East’ and the ‘West’. He noted the relations between the ‘sides’ had already reached the limit.
He noted that Belarus welcomes certain progress in the resolution of the conflict, particularly, regarding the exchange of prisoners and some decisions made at the meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk. Nonetheless, this progress appears to be not enough.
“If someone thinks that the ice broke up, they are wrong. It did not break up and will not break up unless we give a push,” Lukashenko said. “Why? Because we left Zelensky one on one with this heavy burden, with these problems, not his problems.”
“Do you see what is going on in Kiev? Certain forces are using this process to pressurize the new government and the new president. And Europe remains silent (you know who I am speaking about), from East and West. They are just throwing stones at this young man in pursuit of their own interests.”
Over the past years, the Belarusian leadership has played an important role in efforts to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine and create a format where the sides concerned over the situation could reach a political settlement. A public position of Germany and France, which are not interested in an open hot conflict in Eastern Europe, confirm that the EU understands the importance of Minsk and the positive impact of actions of President Lukashenko.
Belarus clearly sees the role and place of the US, the current world police officer, within the Ukraine questions. The role and influence of the US in Ukraine has been confirmed by recent developments over the ‘Biden-gate’. The Biden clan case is just one of the multiple examples of the current state of the foreign control over Ukraine’s economic and political life. At the same time, Minsk understands that the direct involvement of the US in talks on the conflict in Ukraine is not possible in the existing Normandy format and the reached Minsk agreements.
Some note that the behavior of Lukashenko, that avoids taking a public pro-Russian or pro-Western position, is designed to gain as much political and economic revenue as possible from the ‘neutral role’ of Belorussia in the ongoing standoff. However, if one takes into account historical steps and public rhetoric of the Lukashenko government, he would find a coherent approach centered over the interests of Lukashenko as the leader of the country.
According to political analyst Andrey Okara, the current behavior of Lukashenko is based on plans of Russia and President Vladimir Putin. He says that the economic dependence of the Lukashenko government on Russia does not allow it to be fully transparent in its statements and, therefore, Belorussia demonstrates a tactic of ‘partisan’ in Eastern Europe.
“Lukashenko is not passively watching what is happening between Russia and Ukraine… [He] extrapolates this to relations between Russia and Belarus,” Okara told golos-ameriki.ru.
The analytical noted that Lukashenko’s policy towards Russia is very specific and he does not want to implement the Kremlin scenario, which will lead to Putin becoming the head of the Russian-Belarusian state in 2024, thus solving the issue of the transept of power in Russia through Belarus. Okara notes that the Lukashenko government stands against Russia’s policy to integrate Belarus and further, that may lead to the ‘Crimea-like’ scenario there.
This may be one of the key reasons of the current role of Belarus in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Lukashenko’s attempts to strengthen his ‘stronghold besieged from the East.’
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