8 Oct 2018 12:28

Belarus has to respect Ukraine's decision to leave CIS - Lukashenko

MINSK. Oct 8 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Monday, the Belarusian presidential press service said.

"There are many issues that I would be happy to discuss with you, including the position of Ukraine in the CIS. As we know, Ukraine has essentially said it will withdraw, but this has not officially happened yet. The Ukrainian flag was present as usual at the most recent summit in Dushanbe. I believe this process won't happen overnight," Lukashenko said.

"It is probably not profitable for Ukraine to sever all relations with our states individually and with the CIS in general. Therefore, there will be some kind of process. You know my view, I have always said it's easier to leave than to enter later, if it becomes necessary. But this is a sovereign affair of Ukraine, we have to respect that," Lukashenko said.

Kyiv's participation in CIS events has been minimal since spring 2014.

On May 9, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said he had signed a decree recalling all Ukrainian officials from all charter bodies of the CIS. The Ukrainian mission to the CIS was closed in August.