Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin held talks, and the next day they took part in a training session on command and control of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
The meetings of the two leaders were regularly held in 2022, but this is the first face-to-face meeting and a good opportunity to compare notes on many positions.
Vladimir Putin greeted the President of Belarus in the Kremlin, saying, “Foremost, we made serious progress in the development of the Union State. We and our colleagues worked closely and prepared 28 good programmes.”
He also drew attention to the active development of the economy, “We had a solid growth of more than 38 per cent and almost $35 billion in trade turnover. This, of course, is a very good indicator. It shows that what we are doing in terms of integration yields concrete results, and this means jobs, people’s living standards, and wages…”
The President of Belarus drew attention to the common need for the two countries to tune in to resist any economic pressure from the very beginning of the year.
Concerning the military-political spectrum of issues, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted, “We have to respond both in terms of our military exercises and diplomacy. I think they are unlikely to succeed here as well. They have already lost the first round. I can see that they are preparing for the second round today. They are scaring the whole world saying that we are getting ready to attack, surround, and destroy Ukraine. We have never had such plans. Nevertheless, we will continue conducting military exercises to train our military. This is something we cannot do without.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin reviewed the exercise from the Situation Centre of the Russian president in the Kremlin Photo by BELTA
During a conversation with journalists following the talks, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the country would hold a referendum with dignity in accordance with the interests of the Belarusian people, “The West is actively trying to destabilise the situation in the country using our self-exiled opposition. However, no one of them is longer entertaining the idea to repeat the events of August 2020.”
The Head of State expressed the confidence that through joint efforts Belarus and Russia would overcome the most complicated situations, resist any challenges and threats and build a common future,
“No one should have an illusion that we will falter in the face of any difficulties,” the Belarusian leader said, “we do not want war, but if someone does, the response will be totally asymmetric. I think everyone in the world understands that. We will act appropriately, defending the safety of our peoples and our states.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko added, “For the first time in decades, we have found ourselves on the verge of a conflict, which, unfortunately, is capable of dragging almost the entire continent into trouble. We see today in all its glory the irresponsibility and, forgive my straightforwardness, the stupidity of some western politicians, as well as the behaviour of the leaders of the neighbouring countries that defies any logic and reasonable explanation, their extreme morbid desire to walk along the very edge. I’ve got the impression that certain politicians from the so-called free world — who occupy high and responsible positions — are simply pathologically dangerous for those around them, and most importantly for their own peoples.”
According to the President of Belarus, the talks also touched upon the subject of increased sanctions pressure on both countries,
“By the way, those who put themselves on the frontline in the sanctions war will suffer just as much, if not more,” the Head of State stressed. “It is already clear that we, Belarusians and Russians, will survive and come out victorious of this hybrid war. It is a big world. They cannot put locks on all gates, close all the transport routes.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus will build its own port near St. Petersburg. He is convinced that the West would continue putting pressure on Belarus and Russia and look for every reason to wage economic war.
Vladimir Putin wishes Belarus a successful referendum on constitutional amendments,
“First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the president of the Republic of Belarus for accepting an invitation to visit Moscow. We understand that the president’s work schedule is now very busy due to the need to prepare for an important domestic political event due on February 27th — a nationwide referendum on amendments to the Constitution. Of course, we wish our Belarusian friends a successful event.”
The Russian leader said that during the talks, the topic of strengthening the common defence space of Russia and Belarus was discussed in detail, “We agreed to continue to collectively take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the two countries in the light of the growing military activity of NATO countries on the external borders of the Union State.”
Vladimir Putin touched upon the problem of the south-east of Ukraine. He noted that the process of resolving the situation is still stalled, “The Belarusian president and I stated that the key to restoring civil peace in Ukraine and relieving tension around that country is to implement the Minsk agreements. All Kyiv needs to do is to sit down at the negotiating table with representatives of Donbass and agree on political, military, economic, and humanitarian measures to end the conflict. The sooner that happens, the better it will.”
The Head of the Russian State also reacted to a series of fakes concerning an allegedly impending invasion of Ukraine, “I just didn’t pay attention. There is a lot of fake news. Reacting to them is not worth the effort. We are doing what we consider necessary, and we will continue doing so.”
The Russian Head of State is convinced that the West is determined to impose new sanctions, regardless of whether there is a reason. Its goal is to slow down the development of Russia and Belarus. This is nothing more than unfair competition.
In such conditions, Belarus and Russia should do more, Vladimir Putin believes,
“Today it is important for us to raise the level of our economic sovereignty and be more capable, more advanced, to give new impetuses to the development of up-and-coming sectors of the economy. These are digitalisation, artificial intelligence, genetics, and so on. The integration, that we are promoting, pursues this goal too. The task is to increase our competitiveness.”
On Saturday, the presidents of Belarus and Russia took part in a training session on command and control of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, during which a strategic deterrence exercise was held.
The two heads of state reviewed the exercise from the Situation Centre of the Russian president in the Kremlin.
Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu reported to the presidents that the exercise practiced the management of nuclear weapons and weapons of increased potential danger. According to him, units of the Aerospace Forces, the Southern Military District, the Strategic Missile Forces, the Northern Fleet, and the Black Sea Fleet were involved in the manoeuvres.
Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, reported that the main goal of the manoeuvres was to practice the actions of strategic offensive forces to inflict a guaranteed defeat on the enemy.
The exercise drilled the launch of the hypersonic missiles of the Kinzhal aviation missile system and the hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles Zircon. The tasks of the exercise were carried out in full, with all the missiles hitting the designated targets, confirming the specified characteristics.