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14 February 2024, 16:43

Frontier regions of Belarus, Russia explore more cooperation opportunities

 VITEBSK, 14 February (BelTA) – Interregional cooperation between Vitebsk Oblast of Belarus and Smolensk Oblast of Russia that helps the regions counter the economic sanctions and also the ways of advancing this cooperation were discussed during a meeting of the Commission on Energy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia in Vitebsk, BelTA has learned.

The interaction between the frontier regions of Belarus and Russia gained great momentum in 2023. Diversification of sales markets for Vitebsk Oblast manufacturers has become a great way out to support the economy. Vitebsk Oblast cooperates with all regions of Russia, and has long maintained strong economic and cultural ties with the border regions.

"In 2023, trade between Vitebsk Oblast and Smolensk Oblast continued growing. Smolensk Oblast accounted for about 10% of the merchandise exports from Vitebsk Oblast to Russia, second only to the city of Moscow and Moscow Oblast," said Anzhelika Nikitina, Deputy Chairwoman of the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee.

She added that the enterprises of Vitebsk Oblast are interested in setting up their representative offices in Smolensk Oblast. "More than 300 leading enterprises of Vitebsk Oblast have registered their branches in the cities of Smolensk Oblast," Anzhelika Nikitina noted. She added that Smolensk Oblast serves as a kind of distribution center for supplies to dozens of regions of Russia.

Anzhelika Nikitina stressed that lower logistics costs play a decisive role in deliveries to the frontier region of Russia. The Belarusian region supplies more than 400 items of consumer goods and industrial goods there. Shipments of machine tools, finished rolled metal, and special equipment increased by almost 2.5 times. Major imports from Smolensk Oblast are the goods produced in other regions of Russia. These are fish, wheat, polyamides, polymers, knitted fabric, copper wire, and motor vehicles. The two regions have established strong ties in education, culture, and tourism and carry out joint projects. The regions seek to establish mutually beneficial cooperation in the linen industry, the production of water treatment equipment, construction and other areas.

Chairman of the Commission on Energy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia Aleksei Kushnarenko noted that specialists from Vitebsk Oblast are actively involved in programs to extend gas supply networks in Smolensk Oblast. 

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