Lukashenka says he is not going to ask for $3 bn at meeting with Putin

Grigory Rapota and Alyaksandr Lukashenka shaking hands. 18 February 2021. Photo:

At Thursday’s meeting with Union State Secretary Grigory Rapota, Alyaksandr Lukashenka confirmed the upcoming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Indeed, Putin and I agreed a long time ago that we would see each other on the twenty-something of February and talk about some lines of our cooperation. But I want to put it straight: in our country and (as always) in Russia, some pick up and pass rumours, they are now claiming: ‘Lukashenka is coming to ask for $3 bn.’ No, I’m not going there to ask for something,” he stressed.

‘Those liberals of Russia’ are lagging behind the sensitive issues which are on the both leaders’ agenda, Lukashenka said, adding that the Belarusian authorities ‘are not going to ask for anything’.

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In the course of February’s visit, the politician is set to meet with Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, and discuss ‘the matters of current interest’.

According to Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey, Putin and Lukashenka are expected to go over ‘specific issues related to further deepening of Russia-Belarus integration’. At the same time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warns that it is premature to go into detail and specify the topics to be raised at the meeting.

On February 11, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that the Belarusian side was seeking to get access to the rest of the funds which Moscow previously allocated for the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets. The sum in question allegedly ranges from $3 bn to $ 3.5 bn. Extending the new loan has been practically approved; its volume, interest rates, and terms are now being defined, the article reads. Kommersant’s sources say that Lukashenka and Putin are likely to hold talks on February 22 or 25 in Russia’s Sochi.

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