Lukashenka: Belarus set to contribute to peace in Ukraine

Alyaksandr Lukashenka on Wednesday assured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that Belarus was ready to "continue contributing to a peaceful resolution" to the crisis in the Donbas region.

Speaking at a meeting with the Ukrainian president at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Mr. Lukashenka played up friendly ties between the two nations. "We have always lived together, particularly in this area," the government's news agency BelTA quoted him as saying. "No one can divide us."

Apparently seeking to allay Kyiv's fears over Belarus' close military ties with Russia, Mr. Lukashenka reiterated that no foreign troops could enter Ukraine from Belarus, and said that Minsk would work "for the sake of peace."

"This is not only my stance, this is the stance of the entire Belarusian people: these internecine fights, this quarrel involving weapons should be stopped as soon as possible, they should stop looking at each other with fear," he said. "We have a nice, golden land where our people have always lived in affluence."

Messrs. Lukashenka and Poroshenko visited the nuclear plant to mark the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They were expected to travel to Belarus later in the day for talks.

"Both our people and the Ukrainians will be able to see for themselves following the meeting and talks that we will be following the path of friendship and mutual cooperation," said Mr. Lukashenka. "One cannot choose one's neighbors, so rest assured that the Belarusians will always be reliable friends [to Ukraine]."