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Ukraine NATO membership against Belarus, Russia interests — Lukashenko

MINSK, May 12. /ITAR-TASS/. NATO membership for Ukraine would be against the interests of Russia and Belarus, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at talks with the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, on Monday.

It is important “that Ukraine remains Ukraine, without becoming a base of the North Atlantic Alliance at our border. We don’t conceal it, this is important both for Russia and for Belarus,” the president said.

He said Belarus wanted the fraternal Slavic peoples to stay together. “We want to trade and live with them (Ukrainian people), as our culture, languages - everything is similar. We used to live normally and we want to live this way in the future,” Lukashenko said.

But the choice was with the Ukrainian people, living their lives the way they wanted without causing problems for their neighbors. “I think everything will stabilize in due time. We are already witnessing some sobering in Ukraine,” Lukashenko added. He said Ukraine would not be in the West, as nobody was waiting for it there.

Western sanctions against Russia would have a negative effect on the economy of all post-Soviet republics. “The West should not use Ukraine as a means of pressure on Russia since worsening of the situation in Russia, including in the economy, affects all the post-Soviet space,” he said.

Lukashenko noted the importance of forthcoming consultations of the secretaries of the two countries’ security councils to coordinate policy.