Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus will not change its course in respect of Russia

Belarus will not change its course in respect of Russia even during Alexander Lukashenko's presidential term.

The reason for that is that Russia handles more than 50% of Belarus' commodity circulation. There's also the fact that the Russian and Belarussian nations are historically close, the Belarussian president explained on Monday during a meeting with State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov.

Touching on recent difficulties in relations between Belarus and Russia, Lukashenko said: "The tendencies that affect our Union originate from certain political forces in the Russian leadership." Today, according to his words, Belarus is trying to find a way out of this unfavorable situation. No one doubts the necessity of paying for Russian gas, and yet "there are countries that owe Russia billions, while Belarus owes only 168 million and gets cut off from gas," he said.

Speaking about the international aspect of Belarussian-Russian relations, the president said: "The Russian leadership may allow compromises in Cuba, Northern Asia, the Caucasian republics or even Ukraine, but Belarus is a frontier from which Russia cannot recede." Seleznyov, on his part, conveyed greetings from Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to his account, the Belarussian issue had cropped up during Putin's latest meeting with parliamentarians. Back then the Russian president had stressed that Russia's "course of rapprochement with Belarus" remained unchanged. "None of the conflicts must evolve into interstate affairs," Seleznyov cited Putin as saying.

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