Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
9th April, 2016
Belarus’ position on the issue of the status of Crimea stems from the actual situation around the Peninsula. Such a statement was made by the Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei at a press conference in Moscow on Friday, April 8th, reported “Interfax”.
The diplomat stressed that “it is now important to preserve the territorial integrity of the rest of Ukraine”.
“On the question of the recognition of Crimea, we should proceed from fact, who does own Crimea today de facto,” said the Minister, answering a question about whether Belarus formally recognizes Crimea as part of Russia. “Nobody demands from us the requirement of recognising [Crimea]”, quotes RIA Novosti from the Minster.
In mid-March, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus warned the citizens of the Republic on administrative responsibility, according to Ukrainian legislation, for visiting Crimea. “While visiting Crimea through the territory of the Russian Federation, citizens of the Republic of Belarus should bear in mind that this may be grounds for the refusal of entry (…) to the territory of Ukraine, bringing them to administrative responsibility in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation,” said the representative of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.
In May 2015, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that Minsk is opposed to the Western effort to involve him in the dispute over Crimea. “We must first solve the problem [of establishing peace in Ukraine], and then we will understand who is right or wrong,” said the Belarusian leader.
Crimea became part of Russia in March 2014 after a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population who participated in the voting voted for this decision. Kiev refused to recognize the results of the referendum. Moscow, in turn, emphasized that the procedure for annexation of Crimea is consistent with international law.