On the sidelines of the conversation, Putin announced, among other things, further deliveries to Belarus of the Russian corona vaccine Sputnik V. “We must combine our efforts, also with our European colleagues,” he said. Lukashenko, in turn, said his country wants to come up with its own vaccine by the fall.
The last time the two leaders met was in September. That meeting also took place in Sochi. At the time, Putin promised the neighboring country in financial difficulties a credit of billions. Now the Kremlin leader said that cooperation between the industries of both countries is more important than “direct financial support” from Moscow. Belarus’s economy relies heavily on Russia, which supplies oil and gas. Moscow, in turn, sees the neighboring country as a strategically important buffer zone.
Belarus has been in a serious political crisis since the presidential elections on 9 August. Lukashenko declared himself the winner, but the pro-democratic movement regards Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the real winner. Mass protests have taken place since the election. Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/putin-and-lukashenko-meet-on-ski-slope-abroad.html
The European Union no longer recognizes Lukashenko as president of the country, while Russia has repeatedly urged Lukashenko for reforms.
Observers had expected Putin to take advantage of the meeting to talk about the leading opponent Viktor Babariko, who is in pre-trial detention in Belarus, but the state-televised excerpts of the conversation between the two leaders did not reveal this. discussed. Babariko, an ex-banker, wanted to take on Lukashenko in the summer of 2020 in the presidential elections, but before the election battle really broke out, he was put behind bars. Human rights activists see him as a political prisoner.
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