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Nazarbaev Ready To 'Mediate' In Ukraine

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev says he could be a 'mediator' in the Ukraine crisis because of his country's good relations with Kyiv and Moscow.
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev says he could be a 'mediator' in the Ukraine crisis because of his country's good relations with Kyiv and Moscow.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has stated he is ready to act as an "honest mediator" to help resolve the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency, Nazarbaev said he could act as an honest peace broker because Kazakhstan has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, which is accused of fomenting the unrest in eastern Ukraine with weapons and soldiers, a charge Moscow denies.

Nazarbaev also promised help for Ukraine and bolstered his statement by calling for Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity to be ensured.

Nazarbaev was speaking in Astana on December 21, on the eve of a visit to Ukraine.

In Kyiv on December 22, Nazarbaev is due to meet with President Petro Poroshenko.

On December 21, Poroshenko met with visiting Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka who also vowed to help Ukraine in its struggle with separatists in the east and the economic woes it has caused.

According to the Belarusian state news agency Belta, Lukashenka said: "I want everything in Ukraine to be good."

"If something is needed from Belarus, say so, and we will do it all for you in a day," Lukashenka was quoted as saying.

Minsk hosted talks that led to a cease-fire agreement on September 5.

Analysts say Lukashenka may fear a repeat in his country of the protests in Ukraine that led to the ouster in February of former President Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of Moscow like Lukashenka.

But Lukashenka has strained relations with Moscow as well, and has stalled on a Russian initiative to form a union state with Belarus.

Lukashenka also ordered his government on December 18 to switch to U.S. dollars and euros in trading with Russia.

The Russian ruble has dropped sharply in value amid sanction action against Russia for its action in Ukraine and falling oil prices, a main source of revenue for the country.

Both Kazakhstan and Belarus are partners in a customs union with Russia, but its economic problems are causing growing concerns in Minsk and Astana.

With reporting by Interfax, TASS and AFP
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