President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko made his first foreign visit after the presidential elections, in connection with the results of which mass protests began in the republic. He met in Sochi with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The main statements of the presidents during the meeting are in the TASS material.
About the $ 1.5 billion loan and economic relations
Putin said that Russia will provide Belarus with a state loan of $ 1.5 billion. He noted that the finance ministers of both countries “are working on this at a professional level.”
Putin expects that the information about the loan will be reflected in the financial markets.
The Russian President also announced the need to make “additional efforts” to restore bilateral trade, which in the first half of 2020 decreased by 21%.
The Russian president noted that he “has certain proposals” and stated the need to work “at the level of governments, at the level of ministries and even individual enterprises.”
On the situation in Belarus and support
Putin believes that the citizens of Belarus themselves and without external pressure should sort out the situation that has arisen in their country. Lukashenko’s proposal to change the country’s constitution, according to the Russian leader, is “logical, timely, and expedient.”
Putin also assured the Belarusian leader of Moscow’s commitment to all agreements with Minsk, including within the framework of the Union State and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and noted that Russia will fulfill all its obligations.
In response, Lukashenko thanked Putin for his support, noting that the Russian leader acted “very decently, humanly” and all Russians, “those who were involved in supporting” a neighbor in “this post-election time. The Belarusian side expressed gratitude at the short meeting several times.
Lukashenko called the events in Belarus a lesson not only for Minsk, but also for Moscow. They showed that the republic “needs to stay closer with its older brother and cooperate on all issues,” the president said. He also promised to inform Putin in detail about the protests in Minsk and to show the true picture of events.
Joint military exercises
Subdivisions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will return to their places of permanent deployment after completing the program of joint exercises with Belarus, Putin said. The head of the Russian state recalled that on September 14, the military exercises planned back in 2019 began, which will last for several days.
The Russian President added that Russia and Belarus will also continue cooperation in the defense sphere. He clarified that this is primarily about defense enterprises, where large cooperation is developing, “and in quite sensitive areas.”
In turn, Lukashenko thanked Putin for “demonstrating that the borders of Belarus are the borders of the Union State,” and called for planning joint military exercises “for years to come.” The Russian leader recalled in response that with regard to the military component, “there is a plan,” and it “will be implemented.” However, he did not announce any additional activity in this area: “As planned earlier, so we will do everything.”
About pandemic and vaccination
The Belarusian president also thanked the Russian one for the fact that Minsk will be the first to receive the Russian vaccine against coronavirus. According to him, this is very much appreciated in the republic.
Putin noted that the participation of Belarus in the last stage of testing the drug will allow “not only to establish production, but also to ensure the required <…> level of vaccination.”