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Lukashenko: Ukraine destined to cooperate with Russia, Belarus

April 23, 2014, 0:06 UTC+3 MINSK
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MINSK, April 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine will cooperate with Russia and Belarus, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday.

“Today it is impossible for Ukraine not to cooperate with Russia and Belarus,” Lukashenko said in his annual address to the Belarusian nation and parliament.

Even in the current complicated situation, Lukashenko said he sees “a huge desire of the Ukrainian authorities to cooperate on important issues with Russia and Belarus”.

The president said he does not believe Ukraine will join NATO.

“Frankly speaking, I don’t believe that NATO will enter Ukraine today, tomorrow or in the near future, and that Ukraine will become a NATO member,” he said.

Speaking about Minsk’s position regarding Ukraine, Lukashenko said the country should remain an integral, sovereign and non-bloc state.

He said he is convinced Russia does not need a war in Ukraine.

A coup occurred in Ukraine and new people were brought to power amid riots in February, whom Moscow does not recognize as Ukraine's legitimate leaders.

The crisis deteriorated when Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian leaders and reunified with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which it overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

After Crimea’s accession to Russia, protests against the new Kiev authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions, with demonstrators demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.

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