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MOSCOW, September 06, 18:06 /ITAR-TASS/. Instability in Ukraine is dangerous for the country itself and for its neighbours, Belarus and Russia, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday.
Destabilisation in Ukraine has “created a huge funnel and the vortex flows in this funnel are now sucking in both Russia and us,” Lukashenko told Rossiya 1 television.
He blamed the crisis on the United States. “It’s Uncle Sam overseas who is pushing us into this slaughter. And let’s be frank: many politicians in Ukraine are fulfilling his orders,” the president said.
Lukashenko stressed the need “to move away from this funnel because the Americans won’t fight there. They want us to get killed with our own hands”.
He said West European countries were often acting as a conduit for the American policy in Ukraine and this explained why the Americans had refused to attend the peace talks in Minsk.
“They probably did not have to come because there are certain people in Europe who pursue their interests here such as [EU foreign policy chief] Catherine Ashton, and I think she did not take a step against America’s will,” Lukashenko said, adding that French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also had to go in the wake of the U.S. policy.
He also cautioned against overstating the rift between the west and the east of Ukraine. He admitted that people living in western regions both in Ukraine and Belarus were more inclined to develop contacts with Western countries, but “there is no aggressive division” into the west and east among people in either country.
Lukashenko said more than 3,000 Ukrainian refugees had found shelter in Belarus since the outbreak of the conflict in the neighbouring country.
The top-level peace talks in Minsk where the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis was discussed would not have been possible without Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said.
“There would have been no meeting without Putin,” he told Rossiya 1 television channel, adding that initially Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had suggested holding the talks in Minsk as the geographical centre of Europe.
Lukashenko said he would feel happy if fighting stopped and people were not killed in Ukraine any more.
The tripartite meeting between the leaders of the Customs Union states (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia), and Ukraine, and EU senior officials took place in Minsk on August 26.
On August 30, Putin spoke in favour of holding consultations in Minsk that would bring together Kiev officials, representatives of the embattled south-eastern regions of Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and Russia.
On September 3, Putin proposed a peace plan for settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
It calls for ending active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas; withdrawing Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems; allowing for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire; excluding all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone; organising the exchange of individuals detained by force on an ‘all for all’ basis without any preconditions; opening humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass - Donetsk and Lugansk regions; and making it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.
On September 5, the Contact Group on Ukraine adopted a peaceful settlement plan and a ceasefire agreement.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine must be backed up with decisions addressing its economic problems that continue to deteriorate.
“I think the Ukrainians make a big mistake when they say: listen, what economic issues if there is a war going on there?... but when cold weather sets in, everyone will feel another problem - an economic one - when cities and towns start freezing. And Kiev, too, has problems,” Lukashenko told Rossiya 1 television.
Another concern is Kiev’s Association Agreement with the European Union. “We are concerned, the Customs Union is concerned, and Russia even more so, that cheap European and Ukrainian goods may come pouring in here once the agreement is ratified,” he said.
Trade relations and gas supplies have already been discussed at the trilateral consultations in Minsk between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union.