World Bulletin/News Desk
A close ally of Moscow, Lukashenko nonetheless said that Ukraine, another former ex-Soviet republic which shares a long land border with Belarus, should remain "a single, indivisible, integral, non-bloc state".
But he said the territory was now "de facto" part of the Russian Federation. "You can recognise it, or not recognise it. It doesn't change anything," he said.
Lukashenko, who has been almost 20 years in power and is criticised in the West because of his harsh policies towards the opposition at home, relies heavily on economic and military - including air defence - support from Moscow.
Russia sees Belarus equally as a useful buffer between it and NATO. Despite the close integration of the two states, relations often appear tense with Moscow but Lukashenko can usually be counted on to keep ranks with Moscow on big international issues.
While obliquely criticising Russia for seizing and annexing Crimea, he has implied that the Ukrainians have brought crisis on themselves by allowing years of poor and corrupt leadership.
The new Kiev authorities had drawn Moscow's anger with policies threatening ethnic Russians in Crimea, including bringing in a law that downgraded the use of Russian.
"As soon as the Russian Federation saw how the Slav world was being strangled, it stepped in. These (Ukrainian) authorities provided the reason or, at the very least, the pretext," he said.
"They are banning 20 guys from going to Europe? So what?", he said. "They (the West) start prevaricating, twisting and turning to save face. They are not capable of doing anything."Last Mod: 23 Mart 2014, 14:22