President Petro Poroshenko has declared the border between Ukraine and Belarus an “axis of good and friendship,” as Moscow appears to lose ever more control over its Soviet-era satellites.
“No one will ever be able to drag Belarus into a war with Ukraine,” Poroshenko said Wednesday at an event to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, attended by both the Ukrainian and Belarussian leaders. “The peace-loving people of Belarus and its experienced and honorable president [Alexander] Lukashenko won't allow it.”
“The line Kiev-Minsk is an axis of
goodness, friendship and peace,” he said.
The statement appears to suggest a budding alliance between the two countries as they have moved away from Moscow following the annexation of Crimea.
Moscow's relations with Ukraine plummeted after Russia annexed the peninsula in March 2014, and its rapport with Belarus' long-time ruler Lukashenko — a traditional Putin ally — had similarly cooled.
Lukashenko also reassured the crowd of his good intentions towards Ukraine.
“[Poroshenko] and all Ukrainians know our position — peace and only peace. Ukrainians were never strangers to Belarussians," he said. "Whether or not people like it, the Ukrainian and Belarussian nations are intertwined. We always lived together […] No one can divide us.”