Putin arrives in Minsk to hold talks with Lukashenko on several issues
The Russian and Belarussian presidents will discuss in Minsk military issues and exchange views on regional and international developments.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday that Moscow and Minsk are not only good neighbors but also have developed ally relations, including economic cooperation.
"It should be emphasized that Belarus is not only our good neighbor, with whom we have been working, taking into account each other's interests throughout the previous decades, but Belarus is, of course, our ally, in the true sense of the word. Therefore, we tried and solved all other issues, including in the economic sphere, based on this," Putin said.
The Russian President described the general level of bilateral relations with Belarus as "satisfactory".
"We have really been paying a lot of attention to security issues and cooperation in the international arena lately. And in general, we should be satisfied with the way our relations are being built on this track," Putin said.
As for cooperation between Russia and Belarus in the military-technical sphere concerns, it 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.
Putin arrives in Minsk
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on Monday in Minsk to hold talks with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, and to discuss security issues in the region and joint measures to tackle challenges.
The talks will reportedly start in a wide format, with the participation of members of the governments of the two countries, heads of ministries, and departments.
The two presidents will then continue their personal meeting, after which they are expected to make statements and answer questions from reporters.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Putin and Lukashenko will "have the opportunity to conduct a good review, to compare notes on the allied integration programs, and the most pressing issues on the trade and economic agenda."
Peskov added that the two leaders will also touch on military issues and exchange views on regional and international developments.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also arrived in Minsk to participate in the meeting between the presidents, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
The Russian delegation also includes Ambassador to Belarus Boris Gryzlov, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov, and Director of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev.
In early December, Shoigu visited the Belarusian capital and held talks with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin on pressing matters related to bilateral military cooperation.
At the time, Lukashenko reiterated that his country was ready to fulfill its obligations under the existing agreements with Russia.
The Belarusian President praised the Russian and Belarusian troops' solidarity, saying they were training like one army in the combat readiness exercises of a joint regional military group.
On October 10, Putin and Lukashenko agreed on the deployment of a joint regional group of forces in light of developments in Ukraine.
It is worth noting that Russia and Belarus are members of the Union State, a supranational organization formed in the 1990s with the objective of integrating both nations' political, economic, and defense policies.
Read more: EU presidency considering additional sanctions on Belarus
Claims that Putin will discuss Belarus participation in war "groundless fabrications": Peskov
In the same context, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov rejected claims that Putin will discuss Belarus’ participation in the war in Ukraine during his visit to Minsk, describing them as "totally stupid, groundless fabrications."
Peskov pointed out that Belarus is Russia's number one ally and partner.
"It is Belarus that we have the most advanced bilateral relations integration regime with. So no-one is forcing anyone; everyone makes the steps that fit the interests of our peoples and the interests of our union state the most," he indicated.
Read more: Iran calls for bolstering ties with Belarus to mitigate sanctions
Programs between Russia, Belarus have been implemented by 60%
Earlier, Vladimir Andreichenko, Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, announced on Monday that the programs of the Union State of Russia and Belarus have been implemented by 60% to date.
"Today we reviewed how the implementation of 28 union programs is going. If, according to the results of the first half of the year, about 30% were implemented, then today it is 60%," Andreichenko said at a meeting of the 63rd session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia.
The Belarussian diplomat indicated that the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries "is developing successfully," pointing out that "according to the results of this year, the foreign trade turnover will reach about $44-45 billion. I think this is a record figure."
It is noteworthy that on September 9, 2021, Putin and Lukashenko agreed on 28 union programs for the further integration of the two countries. According to TASS, Russia and Belarus "agreed to pursue a unified macroeconomic policy, harmonize monetary policy, and create a common payment space on the territory of the Union State."
Read more: Belarus holds snap inspection of troop combat readiness