Alexander Lukashenko expressed readiness to restore relations with Kyiv, despite the fact that Ukraine refused to recognize the results of the presidential elections in Belarus.
"I don't hold grudges against (Ukraine's president) Volodymyr Zelensky. I understand him: he has said something because he is young. But this does not mean that you should always look at him, while understanding what is happening, and to be offended or angry at him," Lukashenko said in an interview with the TV channel Russia-1.
Lukashenko said he believes that the "unfriendly statements" of Ukrainian officials are caused by the difficult situation in Ukraine.
"They (Ukrainian authorities) said what they said, but our relations are good. Ukrainian people treat Belarusians very well, we treat them even better," Lukashenko said.
According to Lukashenko, economic cooperation between the countries continues to develop. At the same time, Lukashenko admitted that diplomatic relations between Kyiv and Minsk "are frozen".
Lukashenko stressed that he is ready to resume contacts with Zelensky, but the initiative should come from the Ukrainian side.
"I wouldn't look at him obliquely. Condescending, oblique, with contempt - never. A young man, a young president. A trained person, I think. I'm sure of it, he's a sane, normal person," Lukashenko said.
Protests against Lukashenko's regime have continued in Belarus since August last year. Protesters do not recognize Lukashenko’s victory in the presidential elections.
Dozens of countries, including the United States, the EU and Ukraine, also did not recognize Lukashenko as a legitimate president.