MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to provide neighboring Belarus with a $ 1.5 billion loan and a vaccine against the new coronavirus.
Putin announced this at a meeting at his residence in Sochi with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who thanked his Russian counterpart for his support with the words “a friend is known in trouble.”
“We agreed that Russia will provide Belarus with a state loan of $ 1.5 billion at this difficult moment, and we will fulfill this,” Putin said.
According to him, Belarus will become the first country to receive the Russian vaccine against the new coronavirus and has already begun participating in the last stage of its trials.
Putin said that “internal political events” in the neighboring country should be resolved without external pressure, and reaffirmed Russia's adherence to all agreements with Belarus within the framework of the CSTO and the Union State.
“We are for the Belarusians themselves, without any prompts and pressure from outside, in a calm mode and in dialogue with each other, to understand this situation and come to a common decision on how to organize their work further,” Putin said.
Lukashenko responded by saying that the events in Belarus showed that “we need to stay closer with our older brother on all issues.”
This is the first meeting of the presidents of the two countries after the presidential elections in Belarus on August 9, at which the 26-year-old Lukashenka was awarded the victory. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have protested against the official voting results, believing the results to be falsified.
(Daria Korsunskaya. Editor Anastasia Lyrchikova.)