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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine, Belarus Decry Russia's 'Biased Attitude'

The leaders of the two former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Belarus lashed out at the Kremlin on Thursday

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, in an interview published Thursday, blasted Russia as having an imperial attitude toward Ukraine and blamed it for deteriorating relations between the two states.

"I think that Russia's biased attitude toward Ukraine has even deepened," Kuchma told the liberal Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

"Absolutely no one in Russia wants to understand our position, to listen to our arguments," Kuchma said. "In other words they make it look in Russia as if Ukraine does not exist as an independent, sovereign state."

Kuchma said difficulties inside the Commonwealth of Independent States were caused by Russia's desire to dominate the alliance which groups 12 former Soviet republics.

Russia and Ukraine, the two most powerful CIS members, have been at odds since the collapse of the Soviet Union, mainly over the division of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet which has prevented the signing of a friendship and cooperation treaty.

In Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko said Wednesday that relations with Russia were a key priority in Belarus' foreign policy, but he said the country would not sacrifice its independence, Itar-Tass reported.

Speaking at a joint session of both houses of the Belarussian parliament, Lukashenko called for the implementation of the Russian-Belarussian treaty on bilateral relations which was signed in 1996.

However, the president calmed concerns that Belarus would be losing its independence in a union with Russia, saying: "Belarus has always been and will be an independent, sovereign state. It will never be a province of another country." (Reuters, AFP)