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26 Oct, 2023 17:13

Leader of Russia’s closest ally says he supports EU

Alexander Lukashenko stated that despite turbulent relations with the bloc, his country is not an opponent of the union
Leader of Russia’s closest ally says he supports EU

Belarus does not oppose the European Union despite the bloc introducing sanctions against the country, President Alexander Lukashenko said during a meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Thursday.

“For some reason in the European Union they believe that we, Belarus, are opponents of the European Union,” Lukashenko told Szijjarto. “You know, we are not vindictive people and, despite the current turbulence in the EU and the sanctions that the European Union is introducing against us, you should know that the president of Belarus is an ardent supporter of the preservation of the European Union.”

Lukashenko clarified that his support for the EU did not stem from any particular love for the bloc, but rather because it is one of the pillars that hold up the planet, along with the US, China, Russia, and India.

“If this pillar is torn out from under this system, it will be very bad for everyone,” explained the Belarusian leader.

He also noted that due to Belarus’ location, it wants the EU to be a “strong, resilient, sovereign, and independent union.”

Hungarian diplomat Sijjarto stressed the importance of maintaining dialogue and thanked Lukashenko for meeting with him. He described it as an important step towards establishing peace in Europe amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“I believe in dialogue. We want peace in our neighborhood. There is a war going on next door, for which we are not responsible in any way, but we are paying the price for it. Hungarians are also dying in this war. We do not want people to die,” the minister said. Szijjarto stressed that Budapest “would like this war to end as quickly as possible” and will continue to push for a ceasefire.

Szijjarto criticized the EU earlier this week for attempting to fast-track Ukraine’s accession to the bloc for “security reasons.” He stressed that “the European Union is not a security organization, it is a political-economic integration, so it is completely unacceptable for us to justify a country’s future membership solely for security reasons.”

Last month, Szijjarto also stated that Hungary would block Ukraine’s accession to the EU as long as it continued to discriminate against the Hungarian ethnic minority living in the western part of the country. He pointed to several controversial laws enacted since the 2014 US-backed coup in Kiev that have mandated the use of the Ukrainian language.