Conflict in Donbas should be resolved by 3 Slavic peoples - Lukashenko
MINSK. Sept 26 (Interfax) - The conflict in Donbas needs to be resolved using the resources of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said.
"Forget about formulas. Sit down in Ukraine and call those who want peace, including Belarusians. We, three Slavic peoples, should resolve this conflict because it's our home. And you can't avoid it: you either resolve it, or say you don't want to resolve this conflict," Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the state agency BelTA at a meeting with the Ukrainian media on Thursday.
At the same time, the president said the conflict parties currently do not want to do that. It is possible that the United States of America should be involved in the settlement of the conflict, he said. "If they get involved, they will work on peaceful settlement of the issue and preservation of the integrity of the state, at least in eastern Ukraine. But the Americans have taken such a position: if they call us, we will come. It's public. But politics are often conducted secretly, I can only guess what their position is," the president said.
Lukashenko spoke about the time when the conflict in eastern Ukraine was just starting. He said he was involved in the discussions of these events with all parties. "Putin always answered when I asked him unpleasant questions, he answered not only about Crimea, but most of all about Donetsk. In the same way, I was involved in the discussion of this issue with the Europeans," the president said.
In particular, Lukashenko discussed ways of resolving this conflict in a phone conversation with Council of Europe President Donald Tusk. "I offered to the West my vision in the settlement of this conflict. And I warned Tusk, saying 'If you don't take this position I will know that there are people, at least in Europe, who are interested in a conflict in Ukraine.' He kept silent for a while and then said 'Mr President, probably yes.' There has been no progress since we communicated our vision to them," Lukashenko said.
Belarus was even ready to bring its peacekeeping troops to Ukraine upon the agreement of the conflict parties, he said. "Neither Ukraine nor Russia answered that question," the president said.
Lukashenko also said he hopes for a discussion of possible solutions to the conflict at his upcoming meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "But you should know: we will not impose ourselves on you to be your peacekeepers, mediators. It's totally out of the question," Lukashenko said. "I just want this issue to be resolved, as a human being, and as a man. If need be, we are ready to play a certain role. But such offers have so far been rejected by the former administration of Ukraine," he said.