World

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

  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, welcomes Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting  in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, welcomes Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, speaks to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting  in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, speaks to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center right, talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, second left, during their meeting  in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center right, talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, second left, during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

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 Kiev, 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.