President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko,
We maintain contact and consultations on our relations and interaction, first of all, in the economy. Fortunately, everything is stable here and is developing sustainably.
I want to tell you in detail about the process of drafting the federal budget, which is about to be concluded. Everything is stable, which is good news. Why I am saying this: because you and I know well that the condition of the Russian economy affects our interaction within the Union State. In addition, we have mutual responsibilities and issues in this regard. I believe there is a need to align our positions on some issues.
As you know, I have recently met with the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. I would like to inform you about our discussion on the developments in the region, which is also important, and, of course, our most pressing issue, the events in Ukraine as regards the Ukrainian crisis.
I am happy to see you. Thank you for agreeing to come.
President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Mr President, thank you for the invitation.
First of all, I want to congratulate you on such an important stage of the electoral cycle: the single voting day was held in many regions. The results are well known, so I do not want to analyse them; it seems there have never been such results. These are impressive results for the President as well: all gubernatorial candidates that you supported were supported by the people. It is a big success.
Second, our integration cooperation. We have already stated that our officials did a good job fulfilling our instructions: more than 80 percent of tasks we set to the governments have been fulfilled and there are still three more months. I think that we will complete other issues, too.
I would like to inform you that there were not exactly disruptions but certain difficulties on the fuel market. We have stabilised the situation and supplied as much as the Russian Federation needed and the Government asked: I think 60,000 [tonnes] of diesel and gasoline each; and we will stabilise the situation on our common markets. If we have to decrease supplies to foreign markets and increase the internal demand, it is not a problem.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Alexander Lukashenko: This is why we address all these issues, both large and small. You are right that they tried to bend us to their will but failed. On the contrary, we somehow mobilised our resources, which even you did not expect, I know, and I did not expect that we could hold out either. Yes, we are a little poorer; our lives are a little poorer, but just a little bit. I think that next year will be a good one and we will reach the pre-sanctions period in our economy.
Miscellaneous issues, starting from the military-industrial complex and other things related to the Ukrainian conflict, have been almost resolved. If there is something left, then we know in which direction we should move.
Thank you once again for the invitation. I watched carefully how hard you worked over the past few days. It was nice to see you with [Chairman of State Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] Kim Jong-un at the Vostochny Space Centre, because I have been there myself, and it was somehow more pleasant knowing that you and I visited this space centre earlier.
I think we can consider trilateral cooperation with North Korea and Russia. I know the Koreans are very interested in Russia and I think that Belarus will find something to work on considering the existing problems.
I will tell you about our cooperation with Africa, with African countries. The leader of Equatorial Guinea, a very famous and forward-looking person, visited the Republic of Belarus. We also enjoy joint work on the African track.
In short, it seemed that we have dealt with all issues but they keep accumulating, so we need to consult each other in a timely manner.
I appreciate that you have found the time for us to talk and discuss our future steps, even though it has been a tiring time for you with all those flights.
Vladimir Putin: I visited our two major construction projects related to natural gas and gas conversion. What I want to say about the restrictions imposed on us: European companies refused to deliver equipment because maybe they believed that we lacked competences. We have restored all our competences, all of them. We only needed to adjust the schedule slightly, by several months. Major, global-scale facilities will be put into operation in the nearest future. Those who were forced – and our European partners keep saying that they were forced to stop working with us – they are suffering huge losses and loss of profits.
Moreover, some major high-tech companies had to lay off 50 percent and sometimes even 70 percent of their staff. We are restoring them and are building additional engineering competences, which is very good. Yes, we do need to adjust the deadlines and make do with less, but the advantage is obvious.
Yes, we still have much to work on, especially when it comes to advanced technology, but if the situation was different… The day before yesterday, my colleagues reported that new competences in this area are being built, and it was very important to hear this.
We will discuss that later and I will tell you more.