Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed Western sanctions are pushing Russia and Belarus toward “speeding up integration” in various sectors, which he said would “minimize the damage” of the sanctions. 

“Russia and Belarus continue to grow in their cooperation in the political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres,” Putin said in a video message to the participants of an annual Russia-Belarus forum on Friday

“The unprecedented pressure of sanctions from the so-called collective West is pushing us towards speeding up integration. Together it is easier to minimize the damage from the illegal sanctions, it is easier to set up the production of demanded products, develop new competencies and expand cooperation with friendly countries,” Putin said. 

Belarus is a staunch Russian ally and helped facilitate Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February, with some Russian forces entering the country through the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

A number of joint programs between the two nations have already been developed and more are on track for the coming years, Putin said. Areas of cooperation include technological and industrial innovation, finances and transport.

Putin said the joint programs were aimed at creating “equal economic conditions for our countries” and would “form a reliable framework for a financial market and transports base.”

His message comes just days before Belarus celebrates its independence from Nazi Germany on July 3, and as Russia and Belarus marked 30 years of diplomatic relations earlier this year. 


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