Updated at 14:37,26-01-2021

Lukashenka: Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada is “absolutely legitimate body”


Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, which had been elected long before the Euromaidan protests and Viktor Yanukovych’s flight from the country, is an "absolutely legitimate body," Alyaksandr Lukashenka Tuesday while delivering his annual address to the nation and the National Assembly.

"How can I not recognize the current Ukrainian government?!" the Belarusian leader said. "This Rada is the Supreme Council! And then again, they are strictly following a legal path. They have returned to the old constitution. Parliament has adopted it. They have elected an acting president. What's illegitimate in this?! So we are dealing with these authorities honestly and absolutely transparently. Morever, we do not even say that we have our interests there. And you know that sometimes one has to deal with the devil for the sake of interests."

According to Mr. Lukashenka, he has a favorable opinion of Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov. "I have known him for quite a long time," Mr. Lukashenka said. "He visited our country when [Viktor] Yushchenko was in power. He creates the impression of a very honest, decent and very religious person. He has written dozens of books and earned a doctor’s degree, and not bought it."

"Yes, he is excessively nationalist," Mr. Lukashenka said. "He is more nationalist than me, even more than you and I taken together. But people are different. He is absolutely pro-Ukrainian. Sometimes he made strongly worded statements, but he is not the absolute epitome of evil for Russia or for us. He is a normal person."