The Belarusian leader believes Moscow and Minsk could form a union stronger than a federation or confederation and stay independent
Russia and Belarus could form a union stronger than a federation or confederation without losing their sovereignty, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday as he appointed a new ambassador to Russia.
As reported by local media outlets, the Belarusian leader noted that his country’s sovereignty and independence were “a constant.”
“The West is generating this idea that we are losing our sovereignty and independence by cooperating with Russia,” Lukashenko told Dmitry Krutoi, the new Belarusian ambassador to Russia, adding that the question of Belarusian sovereignty is not even up for discussion.
Lukashenko went on to say that “by preserving the independence of Russia and Belarus, we will build such a union that both federal and confederate states, and, perhaps, even unitary states will be envious of.” He added that, “We are quite smart people. The Russian president is an absolutely reasonable person and understands in which direction we should move.”
Belarus has been one of Russia’s closest allies in Europe since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February. However, Minsk has in turn become the target of sweeping sanctions imposed by Western countries, who aim to punish those supposedly aiding Russia’s military campaign.
Earlier this month, the UK introduced economic, trade, and transportation sanctions on Minsk, which included a ban on importing Belarusian steel and iron to the UK as well as a ban on exporting advanced technology components to Belarus.
In response, Belarus announced last week the withdrawal of its ambassador from the United Kingdom and a reduction of the country’s diplomatic presence in London to a charge d’affaires. Minsk explained the decision by citing “unfriendly steps” taken by British authorities, which aimed to cause “maximum damage to Belarusian citizens and legal entities.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the “unprecedented political and social pressure” from the West, and the sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine, are pushing Belarus to integrate more quickly with Russia.