Belarus makes a sudden u-turn on its position over the status of annexed Crimea.
On Wednesday, Belarus foreign minister Vladimir Makei called Crimea part of Russia in an interview with the Russian propaganda edition ‘RIA Novosti’.
‘The position of Belarus on Crimea remains the same. We really understand that Crimea is now Russian territory’, he said.
The statement got a knee-jerk reaction from Ukrainian diplomats.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry stated that Belarus has officially supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, arguing that the change of position could impact bilateral relations.
‘Recognition of the temporarily occupied Crimea as Russian territory will have severe consequences for Ukrainian-Belarusian relations. We hope that Minsk is aware of this and will not act contrary to the norms of international law’, said Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko in a comment to ‘Bukvy’.
The relations between Kyiv and Minsk soured after Ukrainian officials joined the chorus of critics blasting detention of Belarus activist Roman Pratasevich.