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Vladimir Putin Says Russia Has “No Interest” In Absorbing Belarus


Putin says Russia is 'not interested' in attracting Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia and Belarus had agreed to strengthen cooperation “in all areas”.

Moscow:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his country has “no interest” in receiving Belarus, Moscow’s main ally, which relies heavily on the country for cheap oil and loans.

In response to a question from a journalist, Putin said: “Russia is not interested in attracting anyone, this is simply nonsense.”

The Kremlin has for years sought to increase integration with Belarus, but its head Alexander Lukashenko has opposed full reunification with Russia despite being a key ally.

Putin praised the relationship between “closest allies and strategic partners… united by a common history and spiritual values.”

“Together, we are resisting sanctions from unfriendly countries,” Putin said, “and we do so quite confidently and effectively.”

The Russian president added that Russia and Belarus had agreed to strengthen cooperation “in all fields”.

This includes the military sector, as the two countries have agreed on “joint measures for the security of the two countries”, continued joint training and “joint supply of weapons”.

Putin said Russia will continue to train Belarusian crews to fly aircraft that can carry nuclear warheads.

“We tested those planes,” Lukashenko said, adding that “this is not a threat to anyone.”

The Belarusian leader also praised his country’s relationship with Russia.

“Russia can’t go anywhere without us, we can’t do without Russia,” Lukashenko said.

“Can we defend our independence and sovereignty without Russia? No!” he added.

Putin used the territory of Belarus as a launching pad for an attack on Ukraine.

In October, Belarus announced the creation of a joint regional force with Moscow, with thousands of Russian troops arriving in the former Soviet Union, raising concerns that Minsk could also send troops to Ukraine.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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