Posted: 16.04.2024 11:21:00

Allied goals and priorities

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, arrived in the Russian Federation on a working visit on April 11th. Marina Vasilevskaya, the first cosmonaut in the history of sovereign Belarus, also headed to Moscow on the President’s aircraft. 


The negotiations of the heads of two states lasted about four hours on the same day. The leaders discussed the development of co-operation between the two countries in various fields. The focus was placed on the regional and international situation, co-ordination of actions to respond to existing challenges and threats. The presidents dwelled on security issues and the situation in Ukraine. 

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin stated that Aleksandr Lukashenko was undoubtedly aware of all the developments unfolding in the Ukrainian direction. Along with that, the Russian leader availed himself of the opportunity to inform his Belarusian counterpart about the current events in detail. “You know that we have never rejected a peaceful settlement of disputes. Moreover, we were inclined exactly towards a peaceful conflict resolution. It was not us who started this war back in 2014. It all started with a coup d’état in Ukraine. And when the whole situation heated up, it was you who initiated the peace talks in Belarus. We started this,” the Russian leader emphasised. “Then the negotiating team moved to Istanbul where this great work was practically completed. It had been going on for a long time. The resulting document was initialled on both sides. As you know, later, under pressure from the West, the Ukrainian side opted out of these agreements. Now, as you know, the idea of holding some kind of conference in Switzerland is being promoted. We are not invited there. Moreover, they think that we have nothing to do there... If the need arises, I will allow myself to turn to you and maybe we will continue consultations with you in this area.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed that during recent meetings, the Belarusian and Russian leaders had repeatedly discussed the situation in Ukraine, including the possibility of a peaceful conflict settlement.
“If they want to hold what they call a peace conference in Switzerland to talk about peace in Ukraine without us, let them do it. We believe that the only thing they can agree on there is how to further escalate this conflict. Without Russia, what kind of peace process can there be? There can be no peace process without Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “Maybe they are right in choosing not to invite us there. After all, what can we talk to them about if they are trying to gather over a hundred states and dictate something to us or force us to do something? This is not a proposal for peace talks.”
During the talks, Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed his conviction that today there is everything for negotiations on peace in Ukraine. The Head of State reminded about how the peace talks began — three rounds were held in Belarus, and the fourth round took place in Istanbul. Both countries came to certain agreements, drafted a final document, but the negotiations were disrupted. “They just need to be reasonable — take the document (the one that you handed over to me), put it on the table and work on it. This is a sensible position. This document presents an acceptable position for Ukraine. And they were ready to sign it,” the President of Belarus pointed out. 
“Therefore, I absolutely support the peace process, which Russia has never abandoned, including today. If the Belarusian side can play any role in this, you know our capabilities. We will always be there for you and we will act in a coherent manner.” 
The Belarusian Head of State also sent a warning to the Ukrainian side. “These strikes coming from Ukraine that target sensitive points in Russia call for an appropriate response. I think there are a lot of crazy people in Ukraine, but not all Ukrainians are like that. I think they have realised the consequences and will do some rethinking in this regard. In principle, they are just provoking Russia to carry out such strikes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. 
“I think, Vladimir Vladimirovich, that your initiatives for a peaceful settlement of the conflict will find a response in Ukraine. Strange as it may seem, they will find support among the military. I am ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with you and work in this direction.” 
The Russian leader inquired about the situation on the western borders of Belarus. 
“The situation is difficult. It is bewildering overall. What worries me the most is the policy of the Polish leadership. Why do they need this confrontation? The same about Lithuanians and Latvians... Firstly, they throw dozens of corpses across the border onto the Belarusian territory. There are some migrants going there, and they just throw them to our side of the border, over the fence that they have built. Now the snow has melted and exposed dead bodies lying right on the border,” the President of Belarus shared the details.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that all this creates tension on the border. In addition, the western neighbours have closed the border for Belarus and Russia, which affects third countries as well, “They have closed the border for both us and you. It has become very hard to work — even for Chinese, Kazakhs, Poles and others. There are huge queues at the borders. They are doing this on purpose.”
The President of Belarus called the overall economic situation tolerable against the background of sanctions pressure, “We have overcome the sanctions-related economic pressure, just like Russia has. If we manage to provide this huge Belarusian-Russian market with supplies, and also work with friendly states, it will be enough for our two countries. Therefore, we will be fine. We have the market and resources. We understand what needs to be done.”
The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko extended thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his assistance in supplies through Russian ports, as well as for support in sending Belarus’ first cosmonaut to the ISS.
“We want to launch a new satellite with a resolution of 25 centimetres into orbit in the future, possibly in two years, jointly with our Russian colleagues. It will be a serious declaration. We are working on it. There is no doubt that we will implement our plan. We will also work together on the cosmonaut training programme. We are ready to join your programme to do what Russian cosmonauts are doing. There is no need to have separate Belarusian and Russian programmes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined.

Vladimir Gerdo

On April 12th, the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held a joint meeting in the Kremlin with participant of the 21st visiting expedition to the ISS Marina Vasilevskaya and pilot-cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky. It is symbolic that the meeting took place on Cosmonautics Day. 
Vladimir Putin congratulated the cosmonauts on their professional holiday, as well as all those who work in this field.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that cosmonautics is not a new area to Belarusians. The President of Belarus has long been immersed in the field specifics — he has visited various cosmodromes and industry institutions in different countries, studied the technical side of the issue.
“We are working very seriously on Belarus–Russia joint programmes, also running satellite projects together. We have preserved satellite production factories since Soviet times. We are liaising with Russians. Manned flights are the current focus of our attention,” the Belarusian leader noted. 
In the coming years, Russia is planning to orbit the first module of the Russian Orbital Station. This opens up tremendous prospects for bilateral co-operation between Belarus and Russia.
The heads of two states communicated with the cosmonauts, and then continued the face-to-face negotiations that had begun the day before.
There was an impromptu moment during the meeting in the Kremlin. At the invitation of the Russian leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko and the cosmonauts joined a telephone conversation with the Pyak family with many children, who are hereditary reindeer herders living in the tundra in Yamal. Yenksya and Zoya Pyak celebrate the 50th anniversary of their life together. The presidents congratulated them on their golden wedding.  
The Belarusian Head of State expressed confidence that the cosmonauts would invite their family to see the most beautiful phenomenon — the launch of a spacecraft.
The cosmonauts also congratulated the reindeer herders’ family on their wedding anniversary. Marina Vasilevskaya wished them good health and all the best. 
Aleksandr Lukashenko was met in the Kremlin by journalists on the first and second days of his visit, who showered the President of Belarus with numerous questions. The Belarusian Head of State spoke frankly with media representatives about the prospects for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine, his meeting with members of the Russian Security Council, details of the hours-long talks between the two presidents in Moscow, the role of Belarus in ensuring security in the Ukrainian and Western directions, and many other topics.  

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