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Ukraine crisis spurs Russia-Belarus defense sector links

April 01, 2014, 14:39 UTC+3 MINSK
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin met with Belarusian Preisdent Alexander Lukashenko to discuss cooperation in the military industrial sector between the two countries
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An aircraft repair plant in Belarus

An aircraft repair plant in Belarus

© ITAR-TASS/Viktor Tolochko

MINSK, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia seeks deeper defense industry cooperation with neighboring Belarus following the developments in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday.

“The aim of my visit is to look at what else we can do with our Belarusian colleagues, taking into account this situation in Ukraine,” Rogozin said.

A recent military-industrial commission in the Tatarstan capital, Kazan, alongside Belarusian partners, had discussed ways to “establish stable work so that production could be planned”, Rogozin said.

Ukraine was “a very painful topic”, the minister said, recalling a recent Russian delegation to Ukraine which had “travelled through the east of Ukraine, visited Kiev, and had delivered very productive negotiations”.

“It is extremely wrongful today that the groundwork laid out with Ukrainian partners is now cut off by the Ukrainian side on the principle of ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’,” Rogozin said.

“We don’t quite like the situation that is developing around us,” the Belarusian president said. “In this situation, we must be closer to each other, and in any situation we will be with Russia,” Lukashenko said, adding that “insinuations around that must be stopped”.

The Belarusian leader said his country was acting “proceeding from the situation, proceeding from the interests of the state and in the interests of the only strategic ally (Russia)”.

He hailed cooperation of the two countries in the defense industry. “We have several dozen hi-tech enterprises (in the military-industrial sector). "In association with Russian enterprises, we could modernize our enterprises more efficiently,” he said, adding that Belarus wanted both countries to advance.

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