MINSK, December 19. /TASS/. Economic cooperation is the top priority in relations between Moscow and Minsk, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday during talks with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.
"Concerning the economy, as [President of Belarus] Alexander Grigoryevich [Lukashenko] has noted, this is our priority," the Russian leader said.
He recalled that during the meeting they were planning to review the work of the two countries' governments, first of all in the economy, and noted that Russia and Belarus had also recently been paying a lot of attention to security issues and cooperation in the international arena. According to the head of the state, both countries are satisfied with the way their relations are being built on this track.
"Belarus is not merely our good neighbor, with whom we are working, taking into account each others interests over the past decades, but Belarus is definitely our ally in the most direct sense of this word," the Russian leader said. Issues of cooperation between the two countries, including in the economic sphere, are being solved "on the basis of such data," Putin said.
In 2021, the trade turnover between the two countries moved upward by a third and reached $38.5 bln, which was a very good indicator, and gained an additional 10% over the first ten months of this year, the Russian leader said. "This is also very good. While we had a record last year, there is reason to believe we will have a new record this year also. We will most probably reach the level of $40 bln in trade turnover," the President said.