Putin outlines priority in relations with key ally

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The primary focus of Russia-Belarus ties is the economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, adding that the allies are ready for further cooperation in various sectors.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of talks with his Belarusian counterpart, President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Putin said that Moscow is ready to further develop nuclear enterprises in Belarus, as well as scientific projects and personnel training.

“Belarus is not only a good neighbor, but also an ally in the truest sense of the word, so all economic issues are resolved on this basis,” he said.

Putin expects trade turnover between the neighboring states to hit an all-time high of $40 billion in 2022. The Russian president added that bilateral trade soared by a third in 2021, and amounted to $38.5 billion, while in the first ten months of the current year the figure rose by another 10%.

Putin added that the two nations are planning to cooperate in the space and military technology sectors.

“This is not only mutual shipments, but joint work, engineering research and cooperation in this area, including the development of high-tech industries,” he said.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the issues of security, economic cooperation, measures to respond to emerging challenges and the most pressing challenges of integration between Moscow and Minsk.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has previously said that the talks would also touch on energy issues. According to Lukashenko, the two countries have fallen behind on their plans to create a single gas market.

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