Belarus’s Lukashenko says annexed Crimea is legally Russian

Black Sea peninsula ‘de jure’ Russian territory, Belarusian president says, prompting backlash from Kyiv.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has mentioned the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014, is legally Russian territory in a reversal of his public stance on the territorial dispute over the Black Sea area.

Belarus is an in depth ally of Russia however didn’t recognise the peninsula as Russian after Moscow seized it in a move that drew condemnation and financial sanctions from the West.

Most of the world nonetheless recognises the territory as Ukrainian, and Kyiv needs it again.

But in an interview on Tuesday with Russia’s RIA Novosti information company, Lukashenko mentioned Crimea was “de facto Russian”.

“After the referendum, Crimea also became de jure Russian,” Lukashenko advised RIA.

In 2014, Russia’s vote noticed an enormous majority supporting Crimea becoming a member of Russia, however was dismissed by Kyiv and the West.

Lukashenko mentioned he was ready for Moscow to ask him to the peninsula, and that any go to would sign Minsk’s recognition of Crimea as part of Russia.

Ukraine warns Minsk towards recognition

Lukashenko’s remarks angered Ukraine.

“The potential recognition of the occupied Crimea by Belarus will be a point of no return in our bilateral relations, and we will act respectively,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba advised reporters as he arrived for the second day of talks together with his NATO counterparts within the Latvian capital, Riga. Because for us, Crimea shouldn’t be a subject for compromises.

Despite Belarus’s shut relations with the Kremlin, the previous Soviet republic struck a impartial public stance in 2014 as Russia seized Crimea and backed separatists preventing in jap Ukraine. The battle has killed 14,000 individuals, in keeping with Kyiv, and continues to be simmering.

But Lukashenko, in energy since 1994, has grown more and more near Moscow since enormous protests erupted final 12 months following a disputed election through which he received a sixth time period.

Financial and political backing from Moscow helped him survive the protests. Russia has additionally supported Lukashenko within the months-long migration disaster which has seen hundreds of migrants and refugees enter Belarus and head in direction of its borders with European Union member states Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Lukashenko pledges to make Ukraine ‘ours’

Lukashenko advised RIA Novosti on Tuesday that his nation was able to assist Russia over Ukraine.

Kyiv and Western authorities have raised concern about Russia’s alleged plans to invade its neighbour following a troop build-up alongside the shared border in current weeks.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned that Kyiv wants direct talks with Moscow to finish the tensions and put a cease to the conflict within the nation’s east.

But Russia denies any involvement within the battle and accuses Ukraine, the United States and NATO of destabilising behaviour within the area. Moscow has additionally dismissed recommendations of an imminent incursion into Ukraine as false and inflammatory.

Lukashenko mentioned that Minsk would stand squarely behind its ally within the face of any aggression from Kyiv amid the tensions.

“I will do everything to make Ukraine ours. It is our Ukraine,” he mentioned.