Integration between Russia and Belarus continues – said Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, during a meeting with youth at the Seliger 2011 forum.
A young man from audience asked Mr. Putin if he thinks that Belarus could be annexed by Russia. – We would like that very much, but it all depends on the will of Belarusian nation – responded Mr. Putin, according to RIA Novosti news agency. The Belarusian man who rose the question said that his country hopes for integration with Russia. – So you have to fight for it – advised Mr. Putin.
There is a variety of opinions when it comes to issue of integration with Russia, said Mr. Putin.- Belarus is struggling with numerous economic and energy-related problems, such as our small disagreements around gas supply. So Belarusian authorities and Aleksander Lukashenka, who consistently aims for integration with Russia, deserves applaud.
However, previous statements made by president Lukashenka are quite contrary to expressed by Putin conviction. During a press conference on June 17th, Lukashenka stated clearly that majority of Belarusian society is not interested in becoming part of Russia or the European Union. – I’m not interested in that either. I want us to find our happiness here. This kind of policy and independence are very valuable. When I speak of building happiness on our land – majority of citizens is in agreement with me. – said Lukashenka.
Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not planning on commenting on Putin’s statement. But the MFA press secretary, Andrei Savinakh when asked about the possible integration in a radio interview, quoted Lukashenka’s words: “Sovereignty for Belarusians is a holly thing. It will never become an issue of any negotiations”.