Ukraine’s parliamentary speaker questions Minsk neutrality

The Embassy of Ukraine in Belarus is operating under ‘extreme conditions’, First Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Irina Gerashchenko says.

Gerashchenko, who is also Ukraine’s representative in the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral contact group, believes that Belarus should not make ‘provocations’ if it positions itself as a ‘peacekeeper’.

As reported earlier, UA: Ukrainian Radio employee Pavlo Sharoiko was arrested in Minsk in late October. According to Belarus KGB spokesman Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn, Sharoiko, an officer of Ukraine’s military intelligence, worked undercover as a radio correspondent and created a spy network of the citizens of Belarus. Sharoiko’s work was coordinated by Ihor Skvortsov, who ‘acted under the guise of the Ukrainian embassy counselor in Belarus’, Pabyarzyn said. Skvortsov was declared persona non grata and expelled from Belarus. Ukrainian government agencies has repeatedly refuted the claim by the KGB of the alleged involvement of Pavlo Sharoiko in espionage and his being an intelligence officer.

“Minsk claims the status of a neutral peacekeeping state. And Belarus must comply with these high standards and take a neutral, peacekeeping stand and must not make provocations,” she told journalists in Kyiv on Wednesday.

However, the politician refrained from answering the question whether Minsk should remain a negotiation venue amid the existing tension.

Ukraine’s former envoy Roman Bezsmertnyi comments on the spy scandal

A week ago, Gerashchenko slammed the Belarusian delegation’s voting against the UN resolution on human rights in occupied Crimea. According to the MP, it is the second knife in the back of Ukraine.