The discussion focused on the further development of Russian-Belarusian relations of strategic partnership and alliance, as well as topical problems of European security.
Following Russian-Belarusian talks, Vladimir Putin and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko made statements for the press and answered journalists’ questions.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
Let me warmheartedly welcome you to Moscow.
You and I always stay in touch. It is the first time this year that we are meeting in person. We have a lot to discuss, to compare notes on several points.
Of course, as this is our first meeting this year, I would like to note that last year was quite productive for us. First, we made significant progress in building the Union State: our colleagues worked closely on this and prepared 28 good programmes. In fact, development has been underway in many of these areas for a while. We have just updated these 28 programmes, which we planned to do before. We adopted the Migration Policy Concept and the Military Doctrine. Generally, a lot of work has been done.
However, the actively developing economy is our main cause for joy. I have looked it up and we have quite a growth: over 30 percent, 35 or even over 38, and almost US$35 billion worth of trade. Of course, these are very good numbers that mean we have real feedback from what we are doing in the sphere of integration: this means jobs and people’s standard of living and income levels.
This is why I believe that we are acting and moving in the right direction. We will discuss all of this today.
Thank you for accepting my invitation.
And, of course, we will discuss the developments in the region and evaluate our military cooperation: right now, our military exercises are in the active phase. Tomorrow we will also take part in an important event in this complex of military cooperation.
I am very glad to see you. Welcome.
President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Thank you, Mr President.
I am also glad to meet with you and to, at least just a bit, ‘dilute’ the western elite with our presence.
Indeed, we have plenty to talk about. Our economic sector has been advancing. Despite the external factors – particularly, the externally-imposed inflation factors that we cannot avoid – I see that both in Russia and in Belarus we are making every effort possible in the current conditions to counteract inflation, and this is not easy.
Indeed, both Russia and Belarus saw good economic growth last year. It is very important that now, at the beginning of this year, we should focus our efforts on countering any external economic pressure both against you and against us; the sanctions make the situation more difficult for us. This is why I would like to update you on this issue as well as on developments regarding our major companies and efforts that need to be made to retain growth – most importantly, to retain the momentum that we gained last year.
Yet, as you have rightly mentioned, the economic development proves that their efforts will fail and they will not destroy us. I think we will agree on giving this growth an extra boost.
Our military and political sphere has gained a leading position, as you said, due to actions by our western partners as we have to respond to them through our military exercises and diplomatic efforts. I think they are unlikely to succeed and they have already lost the first round; but I see that they are preparing for round two and making attempts to spread panic globally by saying we will invade Ukraine, surround and destroy it, and so on – although we have never had such plans, no matter how much we discuss these issues.
But we will train our people to fight; we simply have to do this. Yesterday, I attended Russia-Belarus military exercises and saw Russian and Belarusian military units. There were many foreign journalists, and the event was very impressive. As you have mentioned, if everything goes as planned tomorrow, you and I will attend an interesting event.
Vladimir Putin: We will not just attend it but take an active part in it.
Alexander Lukashenko: Yes, we willtake part in these events.This is also our life, the life of our people – Belarusians and Russians.
In a word, I am grateful to you for this opportunity to meet with you and discuss our relations one-on-one.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.