Official Minsk expects Kyiv’s help in normalising Belarus-EU relationship
The Ambassador of Belarus in Ukraine, Valentin Velichko, stated in an interview with the annual scientific journal “Dyplomatic Ukraine” that Belarus supports Ukraine as an integral unitary state within its current constitution which excludes the possibility of federalisation.
Official Minsk is interested in deescalating the situation in the eastern part of Ukraine and settling the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, as well as softening the conflict between the Kremlin and the West which, aside from instability in the region, has already led to negative consequences for the Belarusian economy in the year of the presidential elections. Aside from profitable economic cooperation, the Belarusian authorities hope to normalise their relationship with the European Union with the help of official Kyiv, especially before the May summit of the Eastern Partnership in Riga.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.