Lukashenka: Kremlin perceives integration as swallowing Belarus

Photo: president.gov.by

During Friday’s visit to Svetlahorsk, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka unveiled the details of the recent talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The Russian side repeatedly hinted at Belarus’ merger with Russia in exchange for common energy prices, Lukashenka stressed. At February’s meeting in Sochi, he told Vladimir Putin that neither Belarusians nor Russians would resort to such a move.

“They see the integration as swallowing Belarus. This is not integration! This is incorporation! I will never agree to that,” Lukashenka said.

According to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the Russian leader doubted that the Belarusian side would continue to buy oil in other countries, as it is ‘still more expensive than Russia’s’. However, Lukashenka reportedly parried that Belarus would keep on diversifying their oil purchases so that he ‘would not have to kneel [before Russia] every year on December, 31’.

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“Remember that your president will never be the last one. You can already start thinking what you are going to do after I am gone. But even if I live and am not the president, I will fight to keep Belarus sovereign and independent,” he said on February, 14.

On February 7, presidents of Belarus and Russia had two rounds of talks in Krasnaya Polyana (Sochi). The first one involved a limited number of members of the delegations — an aircraft with Russian officials wasunable to land at the local airfield due to difficult weather conditions. The second round was held after a break for a hockey game.

After the meeting, Deputy Head of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak said the following: “the talks were held in a positive way, we agreed to continue consultations at the level of governments, at the level of ministries and agencies to improve the mechanism of integration, to strengthen this integration”. He added that Russia and Belarus agreed to supply natural gas in 2020 on the terms of 2019 ($ 127 per 1 thousand cubic meters at the border).

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