UARU
"Ukraine Provoked Russia into Conflict" - Belarus President Lukashenko
25 December, 2019
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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speak to journalists during their meeting at the Sirius educational center in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia on February 15, 2019. EPA-EFE/SERGEI CHIRIKOV / POOL

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko believes that Kyiv itself gave Moscow "a handle for a conflict".

Lukashenko said this in an interview with Russian radio station, Echo of Moscow.

“Ukraine has in a way laid itself open. They started oppressing Russians, their language and other things  the sort of issues that should not exist in Ukraine. Whatever it is, I am not trying to vindicate Russia now. Nor am I blaming Ukraine. But either way, Ukraine, however small, did give a handle for this conflict,” Lukashenko said.

He also mentioned that Ukrainians were unable to answer his questions about how they defended Crimea.

“I ask them: do not smother me, but tell me how did you defend Crimea? How did you defend it? How many Ukrainians died there for this sacred  as they say – Ukrainian land? Silence. That's the answer to [their] question,” the President of Belarus said.

He added that he is "describing the reality," while"evaluating to whom Crimea belongs" is not his job.

"That's what you yourselves can do over there. I'm observing these questions in a more serious way, without politicization or campaigning."

This comes almost three months after Ukraine and Belarus agreed to broadcast Ukrainian TV channels in Belarus in order to combat Russian propaganda. This agreement was reached at a meeting of the presidents of the countries Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Alexander Lukashenko on October 4. Among other things, the two leaders discussed the possibility of co-hosting the Olympics.

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