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28 January 2022, 14:49

Russia seen as Belarus' number one partner

An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 28 January (BelTA) – Russia is Belarus' number one partner, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he was delivering the annual Address to Belarusian People and the National Assembly on 28 January, BelTA has learned.

The head of state noted that the increase and diversification of exports, attraction of investments and development of cooperation are the pillars of the Belarusian foreign economic strategy.

“Russia is a number one partner for us. Our countries are consistently moving along the path of economic integration. We export almost half of our output there. We are developing cooperation both in a bilateral format within the Union State and as part of integration associations, namely the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, cooperation in the energy sector is particularly important for Belarus. “Last year, we jointly built and put into operation the first Belarusian nuclear power plant, a linchpin of the energy security of our country. And after reaching the design capacity, the facility will produce 50% of electricity. We will purchase five billion cubic meters of gas less to generate electricity,” the president noted.

To compare, he cited the figures from the neighboring Ukraine: they have 15 nuclear power units built in Soviet times that cover 50% of their electricity needs. “Amid the ongoing gas crisis, the progressive Europe is turning towards peaceful nuclear energy and has announced plans to invest €500 billion in a new nuclear energy program until 2050,” the head of state said. “During the election campaign the opposition figures, now self-exiled, stated their desire to close down the nuclear power plant. They said that Europe would give Belarus 10 billion to shut it down. Back then I said that we would build a second nuclear power plant. Today all countries want to have a nuclear power plant. Poland, which supported Lithuania, wants to build four power units, and even Lithuania is thinking about building a nuclear power plant. But they'd better keep their heads cool and not curtail cooperation with their neighbors in order to earn money on a nuclear power plant. We did the right thing then."

Belarus ranks fourth in Russia's foreign trade. About seven million Russians are involved in cooperation ties. Add their family members and this figure increases to more than 15 million people, Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

“But it is not only the economy that forms fraternal relations. They are much deeper, more multifaceted. The cornerstone of the unity is family ties, cultural heritage, and historical memory. We don't just speak the same language. We literally finish each other's sentences. This is the result of the thousand-year history of our peoples. Why lose all this?” the president emphasized.

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