Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned Monday his nation has “no curiosity” in absorbing Belarus, Moscow’s predominant ally that closely is dependent upon it for reasonable oil and loans.
“Russia has no real interest in absorbing anybody, this is able to merely make no sense,” Putin mentioned, answering a query from a journalist, saying such rumours got here from “ill-wishers”.
The Kremlin has for years sought to deepen integration with Belarus, however its strongman Alexander Lukashenko resisted outright unification with Russia regardless of being a key ally.
Putin hailed a relationship between “closest allies and strategic companions… united by a standard historical past and religious values.”
“Collectively we’re resisting sanctions from unfriendly nations,” Putin mentioned, “and we achieve this fairly confidently and successfully.”
Russia and Belarus agreed on reinforcing cooperation “in all areas”, the Russian president added.
This consists of the navy sector, as the 2 nations agreed on “shared measures for the safety of the 2 nations”, continued joint coaching and “mutual weapons supply”.
Russia will preserve coaching Belarusian crews to fly planes that may carry nuclear heads, Putin mentioned.
“We now have examined these plane,” mentioned Lukashenko, who added that “this isn’t a risk to anybody.”
The Belarusian chief additionally praised his nation’s relationship with Russia.
“Russia can’t go wherever with out us, we can’t do something with out Russia,” Lukashenko mentioned.
“Can we defend our independence and sovereignty with out Russia? No!” he added.
Putin had used the Belarusian territory as a launching pad for its Ukraine offensive.
In October, Belarus introduced the formation of a joint regional power with Moscow, with a number of thousand Russian servicemen arriving within the ex-Soviet nation, fuelling considerations Minsk may additionally ship troops to Ukraine.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)
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