MINSK, 21 July (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about his attitude to Russia and his regular meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin as he gave an interview with AFP in Minsk on 21 July, BelTA has learned.
"I will visit there as much as needed. I am going there soon. Vladimir Vladimirovich and I will have a phone call tomorrow. He asked me to talk over phone. Then I'll travel to meet with him. We will meet as much as we need. We have a high level of relations and I do not need anyone's permission to go to Russia," the head of state said.
Responding to the remark that Vladimir Putin, in turn, rarely comes to Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: "He was supposed to come here for the Forum of Regions in Grodno. I suggested he did not, though he was planning to. I gave my reasons. Not because we are afraid of anyone here. No at all. We will welcome him in Belarus another time".
As for Russia itself, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it is a dear country for him. "I feel at home there. I'm a person from that time. Once Moscow was the capital of my country. So I'm always happy to travel there. There are so many interesting things in Russia, so many beautiful places I have not seen yet. I want to see them. Vladimir Putin suggests that I go to Altai, go to Baikal, Kamchatka, stay, explore," the president said. "I am yet to discover Russia. It is a very interesting country for me."
The head of state also noted that Vladimir Putin, hailing from St. Petersburg, knows Belarus and its nature very well. "Leningrad Oblast is a copy of Belarus. He knows everything in Belarus. Therefore, it is not a big deal that I go visit there, and he does not come to visit us often," Aleksandr Lukashenko explained.
He added that the pandemic has imposed certain restrictions, including on trips of the leaders of countries, including Russia. "We have been living with these restrictions for two years already. You know we have been more relaxed in this regard, while Russia has had stricter rules," the president said.