Wednesday

20th Mar 2019

Lukashenko hurls vulgarities at Barroso

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has called European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso a "bastard" after being snubbed over a Chernobyl event in Ukraine.

Lukashenko used the word "kozyol" - literally meaning 'goat' but with a more vulgar force in colloquial usage - while speaking to press in Narovlya, near the Chernobyl site in southern Belarus, on the 25th anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe on Tuesday (26 April).

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Asked why he was not attending anniversary solemnities in Kiev, Lukashenko referred to an earlier nuclear safety summit in the Ukrainian capital on 19 April to which he was not invited because Barroso had told Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych he would not come if Lukashenko did.

"Ask Yanukovych that question - why was the Belarusian President not at these events? You should ask them. Unfortunately the current leadership of Ukraine is a lousy one," he said.

"On the subjects of bastards like Barroso and others - who is Barroso anyway? There was a Barroso in Portugal. But they kicked him out and put him to work in the European Commission. The last thing I want to know about European officials is who said this or that. There are thousands of them," he added.

"They're all crooks. So I don't want to talk about any Barrosos or other bastards like that."

For its part, the commission has confirmed that Barroso wangled to keep Lukashaneko out of the earlier Kiev event but declined to comment on Tuesday's insults.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement: "On such a day, any quarrel or accusation is tantamount to dancing on the bones of the dead."

The EU in 2008 lifted sanctions against Belarus officials in an attempt to pull the authoritarian country closer to the West. But it reimposed a visa ban and asset freeze on Lukashenko and hundreds of his officials in January following a severe crackdown on opposition.

The eccentric Belarusian leader is known for making extreme statements and for his populist approach.

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