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You're reading: Lukashenko says Ukraine needs closer economic ties with other ex-Soviet states

  Minsk, December 11 (Interfax) - Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko called on Tuesday for Ukraine to build closer economic ties with other former Soviet republics.

“It seems to me I could feel he [Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych] realizes that Ukraine loses a great deal by not an economic ally,” Lukashenko said during a meeting in Minsk with members of the Chief Editors Club of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Baltic Countries and Georgia.

“Neither we nor you [Ukraine] nor Russia are welcome in the West,” Lukashenko said. “So where should one go? It’s like the Lord’s commandment that Ukraine should be together [with other post-Soviet states].”

The Belarusian leader also said Russia wants a normal relationship with Ukraine. “I have first-hand knowledge of this, and it’s a great concern for Russia to build normal relations with Ukraine,” he said.

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