President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to meet and discuss our bilateral affairs and development of the integration process between Russia and Belarus within the Union State and also within the new association, the establishment of which we worked on for so long together.
But I want to start our conversation today by informing you that I have just spoken with my colleagues in Kiev, Berlin and Paris in the Normandy format. We agreed that we will try to organise a summit meeting in this same format in Minsk. We are planning for Wednesday if we succeed in settling the various points that we have discussed so intensively over these last days.
I ask for your help in organising this meeting the way you have done so far, so kindly allowing us to use Minsk as a place for meeting at the expert level in the Minsk Group.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Thank you, Mr Putin, for the invitation and for giving me this chance to take a little break here in the mountains and breathe some fresh air.
You are right — we do indeed have matters to discuss. We agreed two weeks ago to meet at this time.
Thank you for yesterday’s events to celebrate a year since the Olympics. The [Sochi] Olympics were the most successful yet for Belarus. Our athletes never had such an achievement before – five gold medals at a winter Olympics. And this was all the more so that in Sochi the competition was tough.
We agreed to hold the Union State’s Supreme State Council meeting in Sochi around March 3, and so we definitely do have matters to discuss and settle.
As for Ukraine, you and the President of Ukraine gave instructions to organise the Contact Group’s work in Minsk. I did everything that you asked and everyone was happy with our work.
I am aware of the latest developments. Petro Poroshenko called me a few minutes ago and told me what is happening. He knows that we are meeting today.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I told him this.
Alexander Lukashenko: I can assure you that we in Belarus will do everything we possibly can to help resolve the situation in which the people in Donetsk, Donbass and Ukraine have found themselves. After all, these are all people who are close to us.
You can rest completely assured about the planned meetings in Minsk. We will organise everything for Wednesday evening as you have proposed. Come, we will be happy to welcome you. There will always be things to discuss.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. We agreed that the press services in Berlin and Paris will announce the news of our agreements and the upcoming meeting. They have already done so and so we can discuss this matter publicly.
I want to thank you for your help in settling the crisis in Ukraine. Thank you very much.