Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Lukashenka says 'We can't be dicing up' Europe's borders again


Even after decades of making the most eccentric statements, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka can still impress.

In an interview with Kazakhstan's 16/12 Internet television channel posted on October 5, he flatly condemned Russia's bid to redraw international borders in Europe.

Lukashenka argued that, once the process of rearranging borders according to historical claims begins, there is no end to it -- and Russia might end up disappearing if the borders of the medieval Mongol-Tatar Yoke are revived.

"Then we would have to give to Mongolia and Kazakhstan and someone else practically all the territory of Russia and Western Europe and Eastern Europe -- except for Belarus," he said. "They [the Mongols] made it to us somehow but they didn't bother us. So what is the point of returning to what was in the past? We can't be dicing up the borders again. "

He added that Europe's current borders are reinforced by numerous international agreements, which cannot be ignored and should not be nullified.

Although he was speaking mostly of the current conflict between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March, his comments are equally applicable to Russia's recognition of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and Russia's support of the separatist region of Transdniester in Moldova.

Lukashenka's outspoken position -- and his reference to Kazakhstan -- is all the more surprising because Belarus and Kazakhstan are pushing ahead with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) project, which remains the centerpiece of Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy.

The three presidents are expected to meet in Minsk on October 10 to exchange ratification documents for the EEU Treaty, which will come into effect on January 1, 2015.

But Russia's policies in Ukraine have clearly alarmed former Soviet countries, including staunch allies Belarus and Kazakhstan.

During a question-and-answer session in August, Putin set off alarm bells in Astana by arguing that "the Kazakhs never had their own state" and that modern Kazakhstan was "created" by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.