Lukashenka and Putin meet in Sochi to discuss current affairs

In the afternoon of 28, May Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived in the Russian city of Sochi, where he was to meet with Vladimir Putin. It was their third meeting since the beginning of the year. Journalists were shown only a few minutes before the meeting, and the results of the negotiations were not announced. There were no plans for the press conference after the talks.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin during the talks. Sochi, Russia, May 28, 2021. Photo:

The meeting started at about 6 pm and lasted for 5 hours and 15 minutes.

Before the meeting, the Russian side said it would ask about the detention of Sofiya Sapega in Belarus. Still, her name was not mentioned during the open part of the negotiations.

In the seven minutes of conversations published by Lukashenka‘s press service, he said the following:

  • he brought Putin a briefcase of documents about “what’s going on” regarding “those who want to plant problems on us.”
  • frequent meetings with Putin are scheduled – as agreed before;
  • “Belavia” rescued thousands of people from resorts where they were left without an opportunity to return home because of coronavirus restrictions, and now the company has suffered, although it was not involved in the incident with the hijacking of the Ryanair plane;
  • trade turnover between Belarus and Russia should return to pre-pandemic volumes and even exceed them this year.

Vladimir Putin:

  • stated regarding the recent events around Belarus (“another outburst of emotions”) that “we have something to talk about even without these events.”
  • announced that the first power unit of BelNPP would be commissioned in June;
  • said that when working with the “Union State,” “the issue is to do everything consistently, unhurriedly, not to rush ahead, but to act step by step.”
  • mentioned the incident of 2013 with the airplane belonging to the President of Bolivia – “and nothing, silence”;
  • invited Lukashenko to swim in the sea.

The incident with the plane of the Bolivian president is now often mentioned by Belarusian propaganda. On July 1, 2013, the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was returning from Moscow, but was not allowed to enter the airspace of Italy, Spain, and France and was not allowed to refuel in Lisbon because of the report that former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who was internationally wanted, was on board. However, the plane was allowed to land in Austria. The Austrian side claimed that the plane was searched, but the Bolivian side denied it. Fourteen hours later, the plane left Austria and completed its flight. France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal apologized to Bolivia. There were no false bomb reports in the incident, no fighter planes were raised in connection with the incident, and no one was detained as a result.

Lukashenka also mentioned the case when Turkey grounded a Syrian passenger plane under the escort of military planes in 2012. The incident took place during shelling on the Syrian-Turkish border. The plane was flying from Moscow – Turkey suspected it was carrying military cargo. As a result, Turkey said it seized military communications equipment from the plane; no people were detained.

The meeting took place in the same interior as last September‘s talks – on very low chairs. Lukashenka’s awkward posture caused a wave of jokes and analysts’ speculation about Lukashenka and Putin’s “body language” after those talks.

A meeting between Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin in Sochi, September 14, 2020. Video screenshot: Pool One / Telegram
Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin during talks. Sochi, Russia, May 28, 2021. Screenshot of the video: “Pool One” / Telegram