In the afternoon of 22 February, negotiations between Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin began in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi. The main part of the negotiations lasted about an hour, after which Lukashenko and Putin went skiing and then had lunch together.
Cooperation. At the beginning of the talks, Putin said that the level of interaction, strategic partnership and alliance is reaffirmed.
Russia remains the largest trade and economic partner of Belarus (about 50%) and the largest investor (over $4 billion have been invested by Russian partners in the Belarusian economy). Putin recalled joint projects in the energy sector (BelNPP), cooperation in agriculture (products from Belarus are popular in Russia), humanitarian relationship, interaction at the regional level.
Vladimir Putin said that he was very happy to see Alexander Lukashenko and invited him to ski. “I hope we will be able to spend at least a little time together, relax after today’s working hours, I want to invite you to go skiing,” the Kremlin press service reports.
Vaccine. Putin said that Russia has transferred technologies to Belarus for COVID-19 vaccine production. Production of Sputnik V vaccine is planned to start in March in Belarus.
“As for vaccine manufacturing, you already have three registered vaccines and even more in development. We are also going this way. We will have our vaccine by autumn, we have specialists working on it,” TASS quotes Lukashenko.
Путин и Лукашенко за обедом живо что-то обсуждают, но держат дистанцию pic.twitter.com/rIJ4T1quAs
— Кремлевский пул РИА (@Kremlinpool_RIA) February 22, 2021
Integration. According to Lukashenko, the Belarusian side is finalizing six-seven roadmaps. Recall that at the end of 2019, Russia and Belarus prepared 31 integration roadmaps, but the parties could not agree on all of them.
“We, in my opinion, have outlined 33 directions, developed these roadmaps. We’ve agreed that we will modernize and update them. The governments have done a lot, they have updated the format. Ambassador Semashko reported today that there are six or seven roadmaps left that governments are working on. All others are ready for signing,” said Lukashenko.
Lukashenko also commented on the unofficial style of closing at the negotiations: “Serious negotiations in ordinary clothes – this means that we are just close people, we have very close peoples and countries. And we may well discuss our serious problems wearing any clothes.”