No Jokes between Ukraine and Belarus

Seriously Damaged Climate of Good Neighbourliness

20 April 2021

While Ukraine no longer recognises the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, it is in no hurry to impose personal sanctions or break off relations with Belarusian businesses. Relations between Belarus and Ukraine have always been pragmatic and Kyiv is wary of closer economic and political ties between Moscow and Minsk.

The first quarter of 2021 could be indicative of further relations between Ukraine and Belarus. The climate of good neighbourliness in bilateral relations has been seriously damaged, there is practically no dialogue at the political level, and harsh statements are issued periodically. Let us try to understand the latest trends in relations in Eastern Europe.

The 2020 presidential elections significantly changed the perception of Belarus and Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Ukraine. If until recently he could be called a hybrid ally with Ukrainian citizens naming him the most popular head of a foreign state, the situation changed at the end of 2020.

Editor’s pick: State Propaganda Discredits the White-Red-White Flag in Belarus

The announced results of the presidential vote and the mass protests that followed undermined the credibility of Lukashenka both from the standpoint of the government in Kyiv and that of ordinary citizens. For many, the protests in Belarus reminded them of the events of the Ukrainian Maidan (with all differences noted), so sympathy was clearly not on the side of the Belarusian authorities.

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Yevhen Magda

A Ukrainian political analyst and the Executive Director of the Institute of World Policy, a think-tank based in Kyiv.

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