MINSK, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - The expansion of NATO to the East has significantly influenced Minsk's position on Ukraine, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko stated Friday.
"One of the reasons for my position on Ukraine - is that you [NATO countries] want to place your armed forces in Crimea," Lukashenko said at a press conference in Minsk.
"And now there is evidence that tactical nuclear weapons also [along with the armed forces]," he added.
Lukashenko has expressed concern over NATO's expansion to the east. "We are concerned about it twice, than the Russians, because they [NATO countries' borders] are our borders. This line runs through our policy," the Belarus president said.
Residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions declared independence following the coup in February, refusing to recognize the new Kiev authorities. Sovereignty was declared following the results of the referendums held in May although Kiev does not recognize Luhansk and Donetsk People’s republics.
Kiev does not recognize Luhansk and Donetsk People’s republics. In April Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in the southeastern regions of the country, which has claimed lives of over 3,700 people.