Written by By Jonathan Cheng, CNN
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko — who’s now 74 — is growing increasingly paranoid about the EU.
And it’s something of a threat to his one-party rule, according to the Moscow-based, pro-Kremlin publication Kommersant, which says Lukashenko’s warnings against the possible collapse of the EU have “effectively blackmailed” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“‘Trevor the Troll’, Ukrainian Leader and the Europe-haters will suffer and turn us into Soviet masters, the clown, the best’ is the president’s [Lukashenko’s] dictum,” Kommersant quotes Kommersant commentator, Nikolai Kondratyev, as saying.
“The biggest fear now in the Kremlin is the threat of Ukraine and the unified EU to Belarus.”
Meanwhile, in neighboring Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev – who’s the third-longest serving head of state in the world behind China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — has warned against Russia’s failure to set out a unified strategy for economic integration with Europe.
“We consider it necessary to inform our partners of the problems caused by lack of implementation of the necessary positions of this [economic] vector. We insist on taking concrete steps in this direction,” Nazarbayev said, according to a Kremlin transcript.
Putin’s much-delayed plan to hold a summit in Brussels with EU leaders later this week is being criticized for failing to provide concrete details about Moscow’s plans.
In 2017, Moscow and the EU’s top diplomats, Foreign Affairs Council President Federica Mogherini and Alexander Lukashenko, proposed four major action plans to de-escalate tensions in the region.
The proposals aimed to resolve the ongoing conflict in Ukraine by continuing to implement a 2015 peace deal.