London — President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that political pressure from the West is accelerating the integration of Belarus with neighboring Russia.
"Unprecedented political and social pressure from the so-called collective West calls for speeding up the unification process. Minimizing and necessary damage from illegal sanctions. To make it easier to learn to produce products, to develop new capabilities and expand cooperation with friendly countries, "Putin told the bilateral forum.
Two Slavic neighbors signed a coalition treaty in 1997 aimed at restoring some of the close ties that were broken by the collapse of the Soviet Union. did.
However, Belarus' dictatorship president Alexander Lukaschenko's enthusiasm for closer political integration has diminished, and Belarus's economic reliance on much larger and wealthier cousins has diminished. ..
In late 2020, Lukaschenko got more attention to Moscow when President Putin broke the wave of anti-government protests triggered by the presidential election and said the opposition had cheated.
In February, Lukaschenko allowed Belarus to be used as a launch pad for Russian armor columns that invaded Ukraine, south of Belarus.
Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the two countries must take urgent joint steps to improve their defense capabilities and military readiness for combat.
Under the Union Convention, each state maintains sovereignty but grants residence and citizenship to other citizens.
Unions promote economic integration and provide mutual defense in the event of an attack, but efforts to establish a common currency failed almost 20 years ago. (Written by Kevin Liffey, edited by Mark Trevelyan)