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MOSCOW, June 2 (Itar-Tass) —— The Kremlin is pleased by President Vladimir Putin’s European trip to Minsk, Berlin and Paris on May 31 – June 1, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.
“Politically and substantively, everything went well,” he said on Saturday, June 2.
In one day the Russian president visited three countries, which is “the rarest case not only in Russian but also in international diplomatic practice”, Ushakov said.
He said Putin’s visit to Minsk was “a very good visit”, during which the two sides discussed the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus and a new 440 million U.S. dollar portion of a stabilisation loan to the country from the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund.
The two leaders were also “unanimous in their opinion that any restrictive measures against Belarus from other countries or association are unacceptable”, the aide said.
In 2011, Russia provided serious financial support to Belarus. Last year, Russia solved several financial problems in Belarus. It offered a discount on natural gas supplied to Belarus in the first quarter of 2012 (with the average price of gas of about 400 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres for Europe, Belarus paid 164 U.S. dollars), thus allowing the country to save up to 2 billion U.S. dollars.
Russia's Sberbank and the Eurasian Development Bank issued a syndicated loan of one billion U.S. dollars to Belaruskaly. But the biggest loan of up to 10 billion U.S. dollars will be provided by Moscow for the construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus.
Putin's visit took place ahead of the 20-th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Belarus to be celebrated on June 25. The two leaders exchanged views on the results of integration achieved over the past several years both on a bilateral basis within the Russia-Belarus Union State and within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Special attention was paid to pressing issues concerning the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Ushakov stressed that Putin’s visits to Berlin and Paris involved mainly “informal meetings, which proved quite effective” and allowed the leaders to have “an energetic and frank dialogue without officialdom”.
“Vladimir Putin was convincing, as always. We hope that he was not only listened to but also heard,” Ushakov said.