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Belarusian president tells Ukraine's leader: Just ask for help and we'll do it

MOSCOW – Belarus’ authoritarian president has promised to help Ukraine as it struggles through its pro-Russia separatist insurgency and economic hardships.

Ukraine’s year of crisis has been unsettling to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled autocratically since 1994, and wants to fend off any protest movement like those that drove out Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president in February.

But Lukashenko also has stalled on a Russian initiative to form a union state with Belarus.

At a meeting Sunday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, Lukashenko said: “I want everything in Ukraine to be good,” according to the Belarusian state news agency Belta. “If something is needed from Belarus, say so, and we will do it all for you in a day.”

Belarus and Kazakhstan are part of a Russia-dominated trade bloc.