Putin commits nuclear plant, better economic cooperation with Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will create a nuclear power industry in Belarus and train local people for the industry

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By: Ayanangsha Maitra | CHENNAI
Updated: 20 December, 2022 6:47 pm IST
Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his Belarussian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko

In his first visit to Minsk since 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday expressed his commitment to developing nuclear plants and other scientific projects in sanction-ridged Belarus.

“We noted with the President of Belarus, Russia continues to carry out the nuclear plant project, and to its own detriment, we are building a nuclear power plant,” President Putin said on Monday

Barred from global business and alienated from several western societies and financial webs, Russia said that it would create a nuclear industry and train Belarusians for the industry.

“We could have sold more gas, but instead, the power plant is operational and generating energy equivalent to 4.5 billion cubic metres of gas, gas that Gazprom could have supplied to the Belarusian market,” President Putin said.

“We are ready to further develop this project and build the next units. But what I think is most important is that we are ready to train people and develop science in this area. We already have tentative agreements on this. We are also ready to discuss them and act, to move further in this direction,” President Putin said.

Travelling to Minsk, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the Palace of Independence in an extended format as well as in a one-on-one format.

Both the countries also inked an agreement on a planning system in Union State, Belarusian state media Belta reported. Putin was accompanied by the Defence and Foreign Minister of Russia as well as other government officials.

In Minsk, Russia further committed Belarus to train its pilots for special ammunition careers and carry a Belarusian cosmonaut to space in 2023. President Lukashenko is expected to visit the cosmonaut training centre in Russia ahead of the CIS informal summit in St. Petersburg, according to Belarusian state-affiliated media outlet Belta.

Despite sanctions, President Putin revealed his expectation for better outcomes in bilateral trade with Belarus. President Lukashenko on Monday said the sanctions against Russia and Belarus “have boomeranged,” reports state-affiliated media Belta. Putin, speaking to the reporters in Minsk, said Russia and Belarus had countered the sanctions effectively.

Talking about bilateral trade with Belarus, President Putin said, “our trade will probably reach $40 billion.”

At a time when Russia and Belarus are commemorating the anniversary of 30 years of their diplomatic relations, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov held separate bilateral talks with his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik in Minsk on Monday.

It was the first meeting between Aleinik and Lavrov after Sergei Aleinik assumed the position of Foreign Minister of Belarus. During the meeting, the two trading partners discussed Western sanctions, trade, and economic cooperation.

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