Alexander Lukashenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Sochi resort in Sochi on Monday, reports RIA Novosti. What the leaders agreed is not reported, but previously the media speculated that Lukashenko went to ask for a new loan.
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Putin stressed that Russia is and remains the largest trading partner of its neighbor. Earlier, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said the talks would be long, but the official Belarusian news agency Belta reported that the leaders would discuss a wide range of issues on Russia-Belarus relations, joint response to challenges, including military security and cooperation with international bodies.
Shortly before the meeting, a number of media outlets promised that Lukashenko would ask Putin for a new loan of $ 3 billion to Belarus. Lukashenko denied the news, explaining that “he does not intend to ask for anything,” recalls Euronews.
Earlier, Putin met with Lukashenko in person in September, when protests in Belarus against the falsification of presidential election results had been raging for a month. At the time, Putin gave his neighbor a $ 1.5 billion loan in support of a difficult time.
During Monday’s meeting, Lukashenko praised Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine “Sputnik-V” and reminded that in March it will start production on the spot in Belarus, while Putin added that Russia has also provided the neighboring country with the necessary technology.
“This is serious help. If we didn’t have it, it would be very difficult for us to get vaccinated,” said Lukashenko, who in the spring called the Covid-19 pandemic “psychosis” and refused to follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
As can be seen in the photos of the photo agencies, during the meeting, the leaders managed to enjoy the joys of winter – skiing and riding snowmobiles.
Since the outbreak of mass protests, Lukashenko has significantly changed his rhetoric about Russia, which was openly unfriendly even before the August 9 presidential election. However, with the mass protests demanding Lukashenko’s resignation, the tone has changed and Minsk blames the West for trying to destabilize Belarus to the detriment of Russia.
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