By PIA SARKAR
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Belarus’ foreign minister blamed NATO and the West for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Makei told world leaders gathered at the U.N. General Assembly that it was NATO’s quest to expand east and its disregard for the security interests of Russia and Belarus that led to the seven-month conflict. Makei’s arguments unsurprisingly mirror those by Russia, an ally of Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders as the top security threat to his country. When he sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, he cited increasingly close military ties between Kyiv and the West.