Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Lukashenka: Crimea is de facto part of Russia

Tanya Korovenkova, Naviny.by

Ukraine should remain one and undivided, but Crimea is de facto part of Russia, Alyaksandr Lukashenka told reporters in Minsk on Sunday after casting his ballot in elections for the Minsk City Soviet (council). BelaPAN said.

Unlike Ossetia, Abkhazia and so on, Crimea is not an independent state. Today Crimea is part of the Russian Federation. Now you cay recognize this fact or not, but this will change nothing, the Belarusian leader said.

We have formulated and expressed our view, the Belarusian leader said. Some say our stance is such because we try to offend neither side, but we are not going to offend anyone.

No one demands that we should recognize [the incorporation of Crimea into Russia] and support the Russians or come out in opposition to this, Mr. Lukashenka said.

It is bad that the Russian Federation had to take such measures, he noted.

We will be with Russia because of our historical past and because of the fact that we are one nation and are carrying out one project [Eurasian Economic Union], he said. We should end this speculation. If the question is raised, we will always be with Russia. I said this to Putin during our last conversation.

When asked by a BelaPAN correspondent whether he meant that Belarus viewed Russias annexation of Crime as illegal de jure when saying that Ukraine should remain one and undivided, Mr. Lukashenka said: Firstly, we do not use such foul words at all. Secondly, I have said what has happened. We will see what will happen de jure.