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MOSCOW, April 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss on Tuesday with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko issues of bilateral trade and economic cooperation as well as the current developments in Ukraine, Putin’s presidential aide Yury Ushakov said.
President Putin is paying a visit to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Tuesday to take part in a session of the High Eurasian Economic Council at a level of the leaders of member states and will hold a bilateral meeting with Lukashenko after the session.
“Putin and Lukashenko are set to discuss key international issues, which include the current situation in Ukraine, as well as the joint work on the future development of the CIS [the Commonwealth of Independent States] considering Minsk’s chairmanship in this organization for the second year’s run,” Ushakov said.
The situation in Ukraine is far from stable after a coup in February, which brought to power new people amid deadly riots as President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave the country citing security concerns.
After Crimea's accession to Russia, which Kiev and Western countries do not accept despite Russia’s repeated statements that the Crimean plebiscite was in line with the international law, protests against the new Kiev leaders erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking south-eastern regions. Demonstrators, who are demanding referendums on the country’s federalization, took control of some government buildings.
Ushakov also said that during the meeting, “the presidents will particularly focus on important issues concerning the bilateral trade and economic cooperation.”
Belarus is in the fifth place of Russia’s world trade partners and is in the first place among the CIS member states. Last year bilateral trade reached $39.7 billion, while this figure stood at $43.8 billion and $38.6 in 2012 and 2011 respectively.
Both countries are also actively cooperating with the frames of the Customs Union, which besides Russia and Belarus also enlists Kazakhstan as a member state in this organization, as well as within the frames of the Common Economic Space.
This will be Putin’s fourth meeting with Lukashenko starting this year. They twice met in Russia’s resort city of Sochi on January 4 and February 7 and also held a meeting in the Russian capital of Moscow on March 5.