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Published: Sunday March 23, 2014 MYT 7:46:57 PM
Updated: Sunday March 23, 2014 MYT 7:48:17 PM

Belarus sees Russia's Crimea incursion as 'bad precedent'

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday criticised Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea as setting a "bad precedent", but said that the territory was now "de facto" a part of Russia.

Speaking to reporters in Minsk, Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, said that Ukraine, which shares a long land border with Belarus, should remain "a single, indivisible, integral, non-bloc state."

"Crimea is not dangerous in the sense that it has become part of Russia but in so much as a bad precedent has been created," he said.

But he said the territory was now "de facto" part of the Russian Federation. "You can recognise it, or not recognise it. It doesn't change anything," he said.

(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Richard Balmforth and Sonya Hepinstall)

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