Putin, Lukashenko discuss regional security, world fertilizer supply
Russia and Belarus are still on the same track regarding the war and sanctions while further enhancing their cooperation within the framework of their agreements.
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, in St. Petersburg on Saturday to discuss several issues, including regional security and fertilizer exports.
"We must take care of our security and the security of the Union State [of Russia and Belarus] and maybe the security of other Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO] member states as well," Putin said during the meeting.
The CSTO member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
Russia is ready to modernize the Belarusian fleet of Su-25 attack aircraft, Putin said, adding that Moscow would supply Minsk with Iskander-M nuclear-capable ballistic missile systems "over the next few months."
Lukashenko compared Lithuanian obstructions to rail cargo transit to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to a declaration of war.
Lithuanian authorities have announced that there has been a ban on the transit through their territory to Kaliningrad, Russia, of goods subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union starting last Saturday.
Senator Konstantin Kosachev, the deputy speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said that Lithuania broke international law when it implemented the economic "blockade" on Russia's Kaliningrad Region. In a statement via his Telegram channel, Kosachev said "Lithuania is a flagship of the destruction of international law."
The region is a Russian enclave that falls between EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania, both of whom have staunchly been opposing Russia since the start of the Ukraine war, exporting arms to Kiev and imposing sanctions on Moscow.
"An increasing number of reports suggest that they plan to stifle transit to Kaliningrad from Russia through Belarus. It is akin to declaring war. It is unacceptable under current circumstances," the Belarusian president said.
Putin underlined that the allies would continue working on the Union State project, while assuring his ally, Lukashenko, that government agencies had "coordinated everything", and it was time to put implement their agreements.
On fertilizers, Putin said that the two countries were the world's largest exporters of crop nutrients. Russia alone exports about 15% of the world's fertilizers, he estimated.
"A lack of fertilizers will, of course, cut crop forecasts for the next year. It is very sad," the president said.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said earlier this month that fertilizer prices had more than doubled. He warned that the world faced shortages of all staple crops next year and urged to bring Russian crops and fertilizers back into world markets despite the conflict.
Western sanctions on Moscow and Mink imposed over the war in Ukraine have undermined Russia and Belarus's sales of agricultural products around the globe, which prompted the Kremlin to suspend the export of fertilizers.
The sanctions fired back against the West, surging food prices in March to their highest levels ever, while the International Monetary Fund warned in April that global food prices would likely rise further in the future due to the war, the sanctions on Russia and Belarus, and climate issues ravaging the planet.
Belarus was sucked into the debacle due to its backing of Russia against NATO and Ukraine.