THE UNITED NATIONS — In the eyes of the Belarusian foreign minister, the root cause of the war in Ukraine dates back 30 years, to the end of the cold war.
At that time, there was no official treaty – just a “gentlemen’s agreement” that paved the way for the West to secure its dominance, in part through the expansion of the Atlantic Treaty Alliance North, Vladimir Makei told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.
“With its drive to expand NATO, the West has essentially trampled on the indivisibility of security, the vital principle, which states that one party should not seek to secure its own security at the expense of other parties,” did he declare.
Makei said NATO and the West, in their quest for eastward expansion, “have neglected the legitimate security interests of Russia and Belarus.” He described NATO’s involvement in what he called “illegal wars” in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria, “in addition to the Alliance’s attempts to encroach on certain lands historical Eastern and adjacent Slavs.
“Therefore,” he argued, “it is the collective West that should take full responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine.”
Makei’s arguments unsurprisingly mirror those of Russia, an ally of Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described NATO expansion to Russia’s borders as the main threat to his country’s security. When he first sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, he cited Kyiv’s increasingly close military ties with the West as one of the main reasons for his action.
Belarusian authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has bonded with Putin, which dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya attributes to a mutual understanding between the two leaders.
Lukashenko must support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she told The Associated Press, because Putin backed him after mass protests against the official 2020 election results that gave Lukashenko a sixth term with 80% of the vote. Many Belarusians and international observers denounced the results as a sham, believing that Tsikhanouskaya had won.
As long as Putin is in power, she told the AP on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, there will be constant threats to the security of Ukraine — and Belarus’ western border. .
But for Makei, the power-hungry West is the problem.
“Most other countries … want to create a polycentric or multipolar world, with no single center of control, in which no one imposes their visions, interests and values on others,” he said on Saturday. . “The West has dominated the world for the past five centuries. Therefore, he believes he can continue with this kind of story indefinitely.
He ridiculed the economic sanctions imposed by Western allies against Russia as ineffective while pointing out the harm he says they have instead caused other countries, all over the world, by driving up oil prices. energy and food.
Makei concluded his remarks by offering Belarus to help broker a ceasefire agreement and a comprehensive strategic peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.
“There is no alternative to talks,” he said.
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