Russians and Ukrainians had always been fraternal nations who lived nearby “and will continue living peacefully for many more centuries”, he told the six-nation assembly of Russia, China and central Asian states meeting in Dushanbe.
“It would be a major mistake to ignore interests of Russia in the region, and relations which have always existed between Ukraine and Russia,” Karimov said, welcoming September 5 agreements in Belarus' capital Minsk to settle the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
In March, he said, Uzbekistan had called for direct dialogue to stop the confrontation and to achieve peace. “I am adamant that, if the Ukrainian side behaved, so to say, objectively, then the first thing to do was insist on direct negotiations. I cannot see another option here,” he said.