Lukashenka on UkraineMarch 25, 2014
Stripping away all the journalistic fluff from this RFERL article, President Lukashenka is bang on the money when talking about Ukraine – as you would hope from a dictator ruling a neighbouring state.
Points in Lukashenko’s rant on #Ukraine: 1) he is implicitly criticizing EU for not being tough on Russia 2) says Crimea is Russia’s “today”
— Evgen Vorobiov (@vorobyov) March 23, 2014
— Balazs Jarabik (@BalazsJarabik) March 23, 2014
Firstly he agrees with the entire world – less Russia – that the annexation of Crimea sets “a bad precedent” – Of course it does, for international legal agreements such as the Helsinki Final Act (amongst a list of international agreements) have not only been challenged but clearly ruptured.
It may not be that President Lukashenka has any great concerns regarding the annexation of parts of Belarus, but he will have concerns regarding separatist movements within the Russian Federation that by extension may have detrimental outcomes for Belarus.
“When it comes to recognizing or not recognizing the annexation of Crimea, Crimea is not an independent state unlike Ossetia or Abkhazia. Crimea today is a part of Russian territory. You can recognize or not recognize that, but this will change absolutely nothing.”
Nobody would dispute what he says – the reality on the ground speaks for itself. The only thing really worthy of note is that by stating “Crimea today is part of Russian territory” may infer he holds a belief that may not always be the case – though it seems a very remote and distant prospect.
The next statement I will unpack into separate parts.
“Ukraine should stay a united, undivided, integral state that is not a member of any block because it would be very sensitive both for us and for Russia if, for example, NATO’s military would deploy in Ukraine tomorrow, this we can’t allow to happen. This is our global interest. So we have to make an agreement that nobody has a right to meddle in Ukraine anymore.”
The first – “Ukraine should stay a united, undivided, integral state” . Here he is absolutely right. The federalising of Ukraine will do nothing more than create a permanently unstable nation for decades to come.
Secondly – ” that is not a member of any block because it would be very sensitive both for us and for Russia if, for example, NATO’s military would deploy in Ukraine tomorrow, this we can’t allow to happen. This is our global interest.”
As I have written before “The political choice offered once again – an officially neutral state that does not “Europeanise” too much and offend Russian sensibilities – or what is left of Ukraine (Lviv and a few surrounding fields that were once Galacia) can do as they will once the south and east have been secured by Russia one way or another.”
President Lukashenka also pushing an internationally recognised neutral status for Ukraine as part of the solution it would seem.
To his last point “So we have to make an agreement that nobody has a right to meddle in Ukraine anymore.” – He is quite right. The problem now being there is no trust.
Having seen the UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act, Budapest Memorandum, The Russia-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty and more, simply raped of any meaning unilaterally by Russia – and to be frank rather feebly responded to by the Europeans and certain guarantors thus far – trust in Russia is at an all time low, and trust in a few western nations has been shaken too.
What possible guarantees of non-interference in exchange for non-block neutrality will now be accepted – and from who would Ukraine accept such guarantees in the belief they could be called upon, and a swift and robust response delivered?
The trust problem not only exists between Ukraine and Russia of course. Who would act as guarantor for Ukraine now, when any guarantor can no longer trust Russia to act reliably and legally?
Sadly President Lukashenka offered no insight into the very serious problem of trust.