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12 Sep 2016

Lukashenko comments on problems and achievements in Belarusian-Russian cooperation

MINSK, 12 September (BelTA) – In an interview with TASS, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko spoke about the problems and achievements in the Belarusian-Russian cooperation, BelTA learnt from the press service of the Belarusian leader.

“It would be wrong if we spoke only about the positive side. We have a lot of problems too. Probably we have misunderstood Russia sometimes. Russia would cause us problems over gas, oil, would impose bans on supplies of our products,” the head of state noted.

“Probably we have not acted appropriately, although we tried not to anger or offend ‘our elder brother’. This is also true. Today we have difficulties too: all of a sudden Russia would start to reduce the flow of oil to Belarus, which runs contrary to our agreement, because we allegedly pay little for natural gas. Why oil and gas? We have contracts! Now the media have started talking about this, though I warned the Russian President: we don't need media exposure and we should not cloud our relations, as we have already done a lot together,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.

The head of state stressed that still the two countries have achieved considerable results in the bilateral cooperation. “We have done a lot as part of the Union State project. We have moved away from the abyss, which could have opened up between Belarus and Russia somewhere near Smolensk. We removed these barriers. We have come a long way. This is a great achievement,” the Belarusian leader said.

Alexander Lukashenko also stressed the importance of cooperation in the defense sector. “The Belarusian army is 75,000-strong. We are aiming for 55,000. This number is huge for Belarus. The most advanced modern army in the post-Soviet space, according to NATO, defends, within the framework of the CIS, not only Belarus but also Russia (Russia has almost nothing in this direction). We have joint air defense, joint group of forces in the western direction. NATO knows about it, and the backbone here is the Belarusian army,” the Belarusian president noted.

“Russian people have a very big place in my heart. I have never counterposed Belarusians and Russians. These are very close peoples, having the same roots,” the head of state noted.

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