Lukashenko: Belarus cannot do without Russia
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin discuss in Minsk the future of cooperation between the two countries.
Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko brought the latter to reaffirm that Russia can do without Belarus, but that Belarus can't do without Russia.
Following talks, Lukashenko stated "Russia will do without us. But we won't do without it. And we agreed here that yes, we will act on equal terms," adding "Are we able to defend our independence and sovereignty alone, without Russia? We are not! And in difficult times he [Putin] did not refuse."
Lukashenko has reaffirmed the importance of positive and strategic Belarus-Russian relations.
"Power industry. Are we producing gas? No, we receive natural gas from fraternal Russia. Are we producing 25 million tonnes of oil to provide oil refineries? No. Who did we turn to? The Russian Federation. And not just turned - okay, volumes are not a problem. But we also need favorable prices," Lukashenko said.
Cooperation between Russia and Belarus in the military-technical sphere does not only have to do with the supply of equipment but also joint cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"There is an issue related to military-technical cooperation. This is not only mutual supplies of some kind, but, in my opinion, what is extremely important, it is joint work, development and cooperation in this area, including the development of high-tech industries," Putin said upon meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk.
The Russian President added that the same applies to cooperation in space.
"It is the same for the space sphere. We have relevant plans," Putin added.
On his part, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said, "Strengthening Belarusian-Russian ties has become a natural response to the changing situation in the world, in which we are constantly tested and checked for strength. I believe that, despite some rough edges, we still find effective responses to various challenges and threats."
Expressing hope that constrictive discussions with European countries on security issues and the future world order would start soon, Lukashenko said Minsk and Moscow are open to dialogue with Europe.
"Russia and Belarus... are open to dialogue with other states, including European ones. I hope that soon they will listen to the voice of reason and we will move on to a constructive discussion on both common security and the future world order," Lukashenko said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk on Monday.
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