Ukraine puts on hold contacts with Belarus
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has had no contacts with his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko after the presidential election in the neighboring country, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on the 1+1 television channel.
"There have been no contacts between them since the elections. And there are no plans for any," he said, adding that last time Zelensky and Lukashenko were in touch before the Belarussian election.
"In fact, all processes and all of our contacts with the Belarussian side have been put on hold," Kuleba said. "I can say so quite officially. We are keeping a close watch on the situation. As soon as we see that these contacts are not fraught with any reputational, moral or ethical risks for Ukraine, they will be resumed," TASS cited him as saying.
In that connection he recalled that the Ukrainian ambassador had been recalled from Minsk for consultations.
Kuleba said that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry saw its current task in ensuring "the developments in Belarus should not raise the level of threats to security in Ukraine and to the Ukrainian citizens in Belarus." He added was doing his utmost to ensure the events in the neighboring country "should have the fewest possible effects on the economy and businesses in Ukraine, because his country had very active bilateral trade with Belarus.
Belarus held a presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission, the incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the votes. Lukashenko’s rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya collected 10.12%. The election returns triggered mass demonstrations in several Belarussian cities. During the first days of protests there were clashes with police.
On Sunday, August 23, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told Euronews in an interview, that if he were in Lukashenko’s place, he would have agreed to a rerun of the elections. In response Belarussian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said that Belarus did not need "hackneyed advice" from the Ukrainian leadership, but would like to feel its support and understanding.