MINSK, Belarus, April 27 (UPI) -- The European leadership is full of crooks, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said following events in Ukraine.
European leaders had gathered in Kiev to mark the 25-year anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. The EUobserver reported that Lukashenko lashed out at his European counterparts when speaking to reporters from southern Belarus.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told Ukrainian leaders he wasn't going to take part in an April 19 nuclear safety conference in Kiev if the Belarusian president was there.
In response to questions related to why he wasn't in Kiev, Lukashenko called the Ukrainian leadership "lousy" and said Barroso was one of the "crooks" in charge in Europe.
"They're all crooks," he was quoted by the EUobserver as saying. "So I don't want to talk about any Barrosos or other bastards like that."
The European Union lifted sanctions against Belarus in 2008 in an effort to encourage Minsk to move closer to the West. The EU froze Lukashenko's assets, however, after hundreds of opposition leaders were rounded up in Belarus following a controversial election campaign in December.
Lukashenko, who took office in 1994, extended his tenure as president in Belarus in what was widely considered a fraudulent December election. Authorities arrested six presidential candidates during the campaign and put another 600 anti-government protesters behind bars.