On April 22, Russian leader Vladimir Putin met with Alyaksandr Lukashenka who arrived in Russia on a working visit. Their talks lasted for about four hours. On the same day, state-run news agency BelTA reported at 9:30 pm that the presidential plane was returning to Belarus.
The event has not been widely covered; according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the parties discussed mainly industrial cooperation, cooperation in health service, energy sector, high-tech areas.
At the beginning of th meeting, Putin said that there were ‘fundamental things that concern bilateral relations’, but they also had ‘things to discuss in a multilateral format. The two leaders are also known to have spent some time talking about further integration of Russia and Belarus.
“Our teams continue to upgrade the legislation on building the Union State. Indeed, there is still a lot to do in this area, but much has already been done, especially in the social sphere,” Putin stressed.
At the same time, he noted that the sides should ‘come to terms and coordinate positions’ on a number of issies. In turn, Lukashenka said that the two countries ‘were making good progress on union programmes’.
“Probably, we have coordinated 26 or 27 programmes [integration roadmaps – Belsat] at the government level. There are a few left – two or three very serious economic programmes, including taxation. We made a decision in Minsk on this well-known programme. So, I agree with you, we are moving forward bit by bit,” the Kremlin’s oress service quotes Lukashenka.
However, the Belarusian politician believes that some pressing issues need to be resolved in the Union State, including those in the field of security and defence. In his opinion, the two countries should draw ‘a line that nobody will be allowed to cross’.
In late March, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Uladzimir Syamashka said that all the roadmaps for deepening Russia-Belarus integration might be agreed by the end of April. The availability of the completed roadmaps provides for the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on deepening integration by January 2022, he noted.
belsat.eu, following kremlin.ru