MINSK, 19 September (BelTA) - Krasnodar Territory is a key region in the south of Russia, where Belarus should gain a foothold, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia's Krasnodar Territory Veniamin Kondratyev in Minsk on 19 September, BelTA has learned.
“The formula is simple and the reason is clear why we were persistently interested in your visit to Belarus. Kuban is the breadwinner, the advanced region of the Russian Federation in all respects,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the president, Belarus is actively developing cooperation with various Russian regions. The head of state stressed that the main thing was to implement all the agreements which were many. “This is our principle: if we have agreed, we have to fulfill them. We have come to the understanding lately that we need to determine the key regions in Russia, from where we can work with neighboring regions and so on. We consider Kuban as a key region where we should secure a firm foothold,” the head of state said. “It is not just delivering equipment and selling it. We want to set up a certain hub with you. We are ready to develop several such large centers across Russia and produce equipment together with you, train your people if needed. We are ready for this.”
For example, St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast are such key regions for Belarus in the north of Russia. Cooperation with Africa is developing along the same lines. Here, Belarus considers Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea as hubs to work on the continent, the president cited a few examples.
“We are ready to develop cooperation with you on all fronts. You know it very well. This includes agriculture, machine building, and elevators. Our policy is not to rush into something great and new (because this means big investment and “catching up and overtaking” is not our principle at all), but to develop what we know how to do. We have tractor building industry. Why not develop it? Russia, for example, is huge and needs a lot. The same is true about harvesters, BelAZ trucks. We are trying to develop the areas where we have experience, competence and specialists. Therefore, if Kuban needs something, we will surely reach the relevant agreements and implement them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president added that Belarus could supply passenger vehicles fitted with various types of engines, but with one request only - they need to be serviced well and in a timely manner. If there is no such possibility locally, Belarus is ready to help in this regard, which means to send its specialists, to organize personnel training in the region.
“Otherwise, we will have it as in St. Petersburg,” the head of state said. “We have started to sort this issue out. I asked about the state of affairs in other regions of Russia We do not have our buses burning. Buses do not burn in other regions of Russia either. Why do they catch fire in St. Petersburg? Because some private company which has never dealt with buses took over their maintenance. You know what maintenance is: not only do you have to tighten the nut in time, but you have to inspect the bus before its operation every shift. They did not do it. As a result, there were leaks and so on. This caused smoke somewhere and immediately got into the media's attention. If there are no specialists that can ensure reliable maintenance, we would rather do it ourselves and for less money. It is very good if you have specialists. If not, we can teach them.”
Belarusian builders are showing interest in cooperation with Krasnodar Territory. They can take part in the region's social construction projects.
“We will surely fulfill everything we agree on,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.
Speaking to journalists, the governor of Krasnodar Territory said that the region was buying MAZ buses in Belarus. Those are the models using gas motor fuel, which are more environmentally friendly. “We say that the south of Russia is an eco-friendly region. Public transport using traditional fuel can be considered a thing of the past somewhere. And we are talking not even about today, but already about tomorrow. I am sure that we will be replacing public transport in an evolutionary way, including with the help of buses produced in Belarus,” Veniamin Kondratyev said.
He emphasized the interest in electric buses. This issue was also discussed at the meeting with the Belarusian head of state. “We have discussed with the president the possibility of transforming the public transport in Sochi as a pilot project. Sochi is the pearl of Russia. We will make necessary calculations and will understand where to move. Perhaps, the decision will be made to make public transport run on electricity, and not on gas motor fuel. These are the new horizons that are very important to achieve,” the governor said.
In 2022 the trade between Belarus and Krasnodar Territory soared 60% to reach almost $557 million. In January-July 2023, mutual trade exceeded $337 million, up 24.8%.