MINSK, 8 October (BelTA) – There has been certain progress in the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, but European countries should step up efforts to stop the war in a neighboring country, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke at the Minsk Dialogue Forum "European Security: Stepping Back from the Brink" in the Belarusian capital on 8 October, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that the capability to resolve the conflict in Ukraine is an important test for European countries. “This is a litmus test. If we can do something, let's sort things out in our home and resolve the issue. The conflict in Ukraine is not just a challenge for us, it demands resolution. If we resolve it, it will mean that we are capable of something. If not, we will come together and talk. To little effect though,” the president said.
He recalled his recent visit to Zhitomir where the 2nd Forum of Regions of Belarus and Ukraine took place. “Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and I had a substantial conversation about various things. I realized that the president of Ukraine is a true and strong person, a patriot of his native country. He is a normal and responsible politician who wants to solve the European problem which he inherited. He is prepared for difficult solutions for the sake of peace. And we support him,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Belarus welcomes certain progress in the resolution of the conflict, particularly, regarding the exchange of prisoners; certain decisions were made at the meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk. “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,” the president said.
“Why? Because we left Zelensky one on one with this heavy burden, with these problems, not his problems,” the head of state continued. “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.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that, in his opinion, Volodymyr Zelensky is looking for the ways to resolve the conflict and is prepared for making decisions. “No one will reproach the president of Ukraine for the lack of effort. However, a lot depends on us [European countries]. And we must share this burden, we must take a big part of it, to resolve the problem,” the president is convinced.
“Wake up at last. The war is not only in Ukraine, it is here, in our home. And we must solve the problem. If the Normandy Four (President Zelensky hopes that it will do its job) is capable of something, they should have gathered together to make decisions long ago,” the head of state said. “But I doubt it. I was engaged in the process and I know how it is solved: everybody tries to get political points. But how? Amid the deaths of old people and children?”
Belarus felt the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine directly. “We have already seen what the conflict in Donbass brings – 160,000 refugees who fled to our territory,” the head of state noted. Just to compare, European countries cannot “share” 2,000-3,000 refugees per year from the Middle East. Belarus has immediately given these people an equal status with its citizens. “We welcomed them like our friends,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We opened our border despite a big inflow of weapons from the conflict-torn region. Of course, we are concerned about it.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, they say that Belarus is trying to put the cart before the horse in the resolution of the Ukraine crisis. “But we are not interested in the role of mediators or peacemakers,” the president emphasized in this regard. “We have never put the question this way.” However, the country is prepared to play its role in the peacemaking process, if Ukraine and Russia want it and come to an agreement. “We are ready to play the role they will determine for us like close and friendly people,” he said. “We cannot stand aside. This is also our Ukraine. Belarus, Russia, Ukraine are united. I don't want to say ‘one nation' not to disturb anybody. But we are one nation, in fact. And we are at war, we cannot sort things out.”
“Do not say that this is not the conflict of Russia and Ukraine,” the Belarusian leader continued. “People in the know have gathered together at this forum, none of them needs such statements. Yes, we should not ignore the leaders of the unacknowledged Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic. They exist, we cannot ignore them. This is the matter of agreements. But the thing is that the main sides should take part in the resolution of this conflict and make a decision,” he added.
The president believes that it will be impossible to resolve the conflict in Ukraine without the participation of the USA.
The head of state pointed out the need to restore Ukraine's economy. “It seems that Europe helps. But they should help in a way to make a difference. It is essential to stop the war and restore Donbass,” he said. “If we are capable of something, let's address the problem. Let's take action. Make your politicians address this problem.”
Concerned efficient measures are needed. “And it will give an opportunity to hold top-level meetings in the Normandy format after a long break. We hope that such efforts will result in solid guarantees that a smooth mechanism of control over the fulfillment of existing agreements will be launched,” he continued.
In conclusion, the head of state said that all wounds will heal sooner or later, and the conflict in Ukraine will be resolved one way or another in the future.